Rural idyll will never be the same again

A CLOAK of sadness today hangs over a Suffolk village which has been changed forever.Nacton has always been a peaceful community on the outskirts of Ipswich.

By Richard Cornwell

A CLOAK of sadness today hangs over a Suffolk village which has been changed forever.

Nacton has always been a peaceful community on the outskirts of Ipswich.

Just close enough to the town for people to travel easily to and from work and shops, but able to live in a rural setting - fields on their doorsteps, the river at their side.

It is a village known by many who go there for leisure and recreation - families to picnic on the foreshore and walk along the banks of the Orwell - and for hundreds of youngsters who go to school at Amberfield, Orwell Park and the village primary school.

But now there are clouds hanging over this community which is still trying to come to terms with the fact that the bodies of three Ipswich women were found by its roadsides.

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Annelie Alderton's body was found at the end of The Street, just off the main Felixstowe Road, while the bodies of Paula Clennell and Annette Nicholls were found a few hundred yards away, by the old Felixstowe road not far from Levington - but still in the parish of Nacton.

The person who left the women's bodies placed them so they could be seen by people driving or walking the village's lanes and roads.

Today few people will ever walk those areas or drive along those roads again without thinking of those poor women, their families and friends, and the impact their deaths have had on the community of Suffolk as a whole.

Many will not be able to go that way at all simply because of that fact.

One resident said: “I don't think anyone realised at first that all three sites were in Nacton - now that we know they are all in our parish it has become even more poignant.

“There is a shadow over this village. It will never be the same again.

“You won't be able to hear the name Nacton or come here without thinking of those women and their deaths.”

Another resident said: “It will take a long time to heal, but I am sure it will and things will get back to normal.

“But we will always be tainted because our community is part of what happened.”

As children returned to Amberfield yesterday it was hard for the youngsters at the independent school to put the events of December out of their minds. The pupils missed the end of the Christmas term, a favourite part of the school year, as their grounds were sealed off by police.

Staff said the grounds now looked very different in part as police had stripped the bottom of trees to clear an area in a search for clues.

Headmistress Helen Kay said the police had been very supportive and on the school website thanked them for their help and guidance during a difficult time.

Do you live in Nacton - how do you feel the village has been affected? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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