Police hunting a suspected serial killer following the murders of five prostitutes in eastern England arrested a 37-year-old man yesterday.
The man was arrested at about 7:20am at his home in Trimley St. Martin, near the port of Felixstowe, Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Gull said in a brief statement to reporters. He declined to say where the suspect was being held.
"He has been arrested on the suspicion of murdering all five women," Gull said.
"The man is currently in custody at a police station in Suffolk where he will be questioned about the deaths later today," he added.
Police cordoned off a group of houses in Trimley, apparently at the scene of the arrest.
News reports identified the suspect as Tom Stephens, 37, who was quoted in the Sunday Mirror newspaper as saying he knew all five women, and that he had been interviewed four times under caution -- meaning that he was regarded as a potential suspect -- by police investigating the slayings.
"From the police profiling it does look like me -- white male between 25 and 40, knows the area, works strange hours. The bodies have got close to my house," Stephens was quoted as saying.
"If new information, coincidental information, crops up, I could get arrested," Stephens was quoted as saying, but he added that he was confident he would not be charged.
Trimley is 13km southeast of Ipswich, where all five victims were known to work as prostitutes.
Their naked bodies were found dumped in rural areas near Ipswich, 110km northeast of London, over a 10-day span beginning on Dec. 2. Three were found near the main road and the rail line between Ipswich and Felixstowe; the other two were discovered near the same road in areas south and southwest of Ipswich.
Earlier in the morning, police announced that coroner's inquests into the deaths of Tania Nicol, Anneli Alderton, Paula Clennell and Annette Nicholls had been postponed.
Clennell, 24, died of compression to her neck, and Alderton, 24, was strangled, a senior pathologist determined. Post-mortem examinations of the bodies of Nicol, 19, and Nicholls, reached no conclusion on the cause of death.
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