More than 100 people gathered for a candlelit vigil on Friday night for the 5 murdered prostitutes, and their killer. One large candle was lit in memory of each prostitute at St Peter’s Church in Copdock, near Ipswich.
The prayers were held as rumours emerged that one of the five victims of the labelled “Ipswich Ripper” was pregnant.
The Sun newspaper has reported that prostitute Anneli Alderton, 24, was around three months' pregnant when she died. Alderton’s body was found in woods at Nacton on 10 December.
The bodies of the five women have all been discovered over the past two weeks, sparking an atmosphere of shock and fear across the Suffolk region.
At Friday’s prayer vigil, photographs of Gemma Adams, Tania Nicol, Anneli Alderton, Paula Clennell and Annette Nicholls were pinned to the church doors and beneath the candles.
The rector of North Samford Benefice, Rev Chris Wingfield, led the prayers, and called for the community to support the families and friends of those who had died.
Rev Wingfield said: “We pray for the person or persons who have committed this atrocious crime. They are evil acts of weakness. We do not even begin to understand the motives which drive such anger and hatred.”
He added: “In the midst of this darkness and horror we ask that you bring your light and understanding to the chaos they have caused. Let realisation dawn so that this brutality will cease, let justice prevail.”
Each member of the congregation was invited to light a candle in memory of the women.
As the prayers continued, one man overwhelmed with the tragic events, left the church crying and “dabbing his eyes”, it was reported.
None of the families attended the prayer vigil, but several of the girls’ friends turned out to pay their respects.
Meanwhile, Police said on Friday night they had a number of suspects in their sights. Current investigations have seen police trawling thousands of hours of CCTV footage in the hope of finding a clue to the killer's identity.
Det Chief Supt Stewart Gull said officers had seized footage from cameras in and around Ipswich to find out more about the final hours of the murdered women. He reported that he was confident of finding footage of Anneli Alderton and was searching for images of the other women.