The Suffolk Strangler — A Town Is Terrified

Why did the prolific user of sex workers become a serial killer?

Andy Killoran
15 min readFeb 14, 2021

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Steve Wright — Image Suffolk Police

In 2006, the sleepy Suffolk city of Ipswich went from being a low-crime low-risk backwater place to being a crime hot spot, and this all happened in just a few months.

The 30 to 40 women sex workers who were selling sex on the street were more at risk of crime than the average population.

Studies into the risks of street prostitution show that whilst all sex workers are more at risk of rape and violent crime than the average population, these number increase still further for those who work outdoors.

In one study, whilst 48 per cent of indoor sex workers reported suffering violence at the hands of customers, that number rose to 81 per cent for those working on the street.

Many sex workers, male and female, are drug addicts who sell sex to buy drugs.

In Ipswich, one man was responsible for the series of brutal and extraordinary crimes. These were not the run-of-the-mill offending sex workers routinely suffer from, horrendous though they may be: Even compared to the violence street prostitutes encounter, his offending was different by an order of magnitude. Women first started going missing, and then started turning up dead.

October 30 2006 — Tania Nicol

19-year-old Tania Nicol left the home she shared with her mother and brother and headed into town on the bus. Tania was a local girl, born and brought up in the area and with lots of friends locally.

Tania told her family she was going to meet friends.

The Nicol family were unaware that Tania was a street sex worker and only found out after her disappearance that day.

Tania had left home at 16 and started taking drugs. She worked in a massage parlour to feed her habit but her bosses sacked her because of her drug use. Tania had moved back in with her mother and brother but hid from them her work on the street.

Her mother reported her missing when she did not come home the following morning.

Tania was never seen alive again after that evening.

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Andy Killoran

British guy. Loves writing — loves words. Loves reading. Loves Medium. Twitter @andykilloran