Exclusive:Tom Stephen's sorrow at deaths
A MAN arrested on suspicion of murdering five sex workers in Ipswich today told of his sorrow at their deaths.Tom Stephens, who had his bail cancelled last week, said he has been through a horrendous ordeal since being named as a suspect by a national newspaper and being arrested the following day.
A MAN arrested on suspicion of murdering five sex workers in Ipswich today told of his sorrow at their deaths.
Tom Stephens, who had his bail cancelled last week, said he has been through a horrendous ordeal since being named as a suspect by a national newspaper and being arrested the following day.
However Mr Stephens, 38, of Jubilee Close, Trimley St Martin, said if he could change anything it would be to have the girls back.
He said: “If an angel came down from heaven right now and said they could change one thing by turning back time I would say to them to bring back one of the girls rather than change what happened to me. If I could I would bring back all five.
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“The worst five things were the five girls going missing - the next worst thing from my point of view is what I have been through.”
The 38-year-old was questioned in connection with the deaths of Tania Nicol, 19, Gemma Adams, 25, Paula Clennell, 24, Anneli Alderton, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29, after their bodies were found in locations on the outskirts of Ipswich in December.
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Mr Stephens, who worked at Tesco in Martlesham, was arrested on December 19 last year after a raid on his home by officers investigating the deaths of the five women.
He was held for four days before being released on bail and said the whole experience has left him a broken man.
He said: “My life has been turned upside down and shaken up. There is not much left of it.
“A lot of things said about me are false - things that did not happen, places I have not been and people I do not know.
“Supposedly I was involved in various different acts with people, which is all false.”
Mr Stephens was propelled to the status of prime suspect for 24 hours at the height of the investigation and was the focus of the world's media following his arrest.
The previous day his photo had appeared on the front page of a national Sunday newspaper emblazoned with the words “the suspect”.
Mr Stephens said he is still struggling to come to terms with what happened to him and was left shocked and distressed on seeing his picture in the paper.
He said: “It was awful. I felt like it was a wanted poster.
“I went into the newsagents to buy it and immediately thought I was going to be recognised by the newsagent behind the counter.
“I felt that anyone I bumped into in the street was going to recognise me and take me to the police station.”
Mr Stephens said that following the story and his arrest he feared for his family but was not in a situation to do anything for them.
He added that he has no intention of moving away to start a new life as he has done nothing wrong and wants to face up to the situation.
He said: “I didn't want to try to run away completely. I could move up to Lancashire, change my name, start a new life completely but would always feel I was looking over my shoulder.
“If I tried to run away there would always be a chance a reporter would try to find me and make a story of it.
“If I moved away, changed my name and met someone I wanted to marry would I tell them?
“I feel I need to be open about it and people can either take me or leave me.”