Police search 'triggered heart attack'

A DISABLED grandmother was recovering at home today after she suffered a heart attack when detectives investigating the red-light killings searched her house.

A DISABLED grandmother was recovering at home today after she suffered a heart attack when detectives investigating the red-light killings searched her house.

Judy Turtill collapsed after police believed to be handling the probe into the killing of teenager Tania Nicol arrived with a search warrant.

As the five officers seized computer and camera equipment and took a video tape of the previous night's news, Mrs Turtill, 62, started having severe chest pains at her home in Beatty Road, Ipswich.

The plain-clothes officers, who are understood to be part of the Operation Sumac investigation - the probe into the deaths of sex workers Miss Nicol, 19, Gemma Adams, 25, Paula Clennell, 24, Anneli Alderton, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29 - conducted a careful search of the semi-detached house Mrs Turtill shares with her husband Peter.

But the officers were forced to halt their search and call an ambulance when Mrs Turtill fell ill. Paramedics arrived to treat her and soon after the officers resumed their search.

Mrs Turtill, who spent five days in Ipswich Hospital's Claydon ward and has previously beat cancer, said: “I didn't know what was going on. It was shocking seeing the police there, searching through your dirty washing.

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“It was very scary.”

She was told by doctors that a valve in her heart had been damaged and she is awaiting an angiogram.

The drama unfolded after Mrs Turtill answered a knock on the front door. Standing outside were five officers, four men and one woman, who produced a warrant authorising them to conduct the search.

Mr Turtill, 64, said: “One of the officers said 'we're investigating Tania Nicol's death'.

“I asked them 'am I a suspect?' and they said 'no, you're not a suspect'. He said 'we believe your computer has evidence on it'.

“If they'd have just asked me I would have shown them anything they wanted to see.”

Suffolk police is understood to still be holding the Turtill's computer and camera equipment but the force said it cannot comment on what role it has in the inquiry.

Have you helped the police with the investigation into the red-light killings? Call The Evening Star newsdesk on 01473 324788 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk

FOUR weeks before Judy and Peter Turtill opened their door to be faced with detectives armed with a search warrant, the couple were visited by two officers from Cheshire Constabulary brought to the county to help with the killings investigation.

The Turtills, who have been married 45 years and are both disabled, had called police after seeing what they thought was a suspicious car near Levington on December 12 - the day the bodies of Miss Nicholls and Miss Clennell were found nearby.

But when the Cheshire officers visited the couple's home they became more interested in pictures Mr Turtill showed them on his computer of vehicles at a car park near Ravenswood which he had taken in his role as a Ramblers Association footpath guardian.

A month after that visit, on February 9, the five Suffolk police arrived with the warrant to seize computer equipment, photographic equipment, mobile phones, and photographs.

After searching the house they left with two laptops, a digital camera and all of Mr Turtills computer CDs.

Now Mr Turtill is calling for an apology from Suffolk police over the way they conducted the search.

He has written a complaint to the chief constable and asked the Independent Police Complaints Authority to investigate.

But a Suffolk police spokeswoman insisted officers had ensured Mrs Turtill was receiving medical treatment before they continued their search.

She said: “Whilst carrying out their search, officers became aware that a woman at the address had become unwell and they called for an ambulance. When the officers were satisfied that the woman was receiving the treatment she needed, they continued their search. No arrests were made.

“A complaint has subsequently been received from a resident at the property and this will be the subject of a thorough investigation by senior officers from the Constabulary's Professional Standards Department.

“As such I am unable to provide any further details at this time.”

Steve Wright, 48, of London Road, Ipswich, has been charged with the murders of all five women. He is due to reappear at Ipswich Crown Court on May 1.