Simon pens song for murdered girls

A SINGER-songwriter has today released a song which uses the tragedy of the Ipswich murders as inspiration.

James Marston

A SINGER-songwriter has today released a song which uses the tragedy of the Ipswich murders as inspiration.

And Bromley-based folk performer Simon Hopper has vowed he will make a donation from proceeds from his album The Less Blessed towards The Evening Star's Somebody's Daughter Memorial Fund.

Mr Hopper said the idea for his song The Ballad of the Suffolk Five came to him after thinking about how five young women came to be murdered in Ipswich in December 2006.

He said: “I'm sitting in my room in Bromley and I became bothered about how five young women could find themselves in such a vulnerable situation.

“We marginalise drug users and sex workers in our society and pretend they don't exist. I was concerned about the issue.”

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Mr Hopper said the song was one of the most difficult he had written.

He added: “I didn't want the song to be maudlin or over sentimental or harsh. When I was writing it I didn't think I would play it or present it to an audience.”

Mr Hopper played his song on Evening Star columnist Stephen Foster's BBC Radio Suffolk Drive Time show.

He said the song asks questions about attitudes towards prostitution and drug use.

The 54-year-old said: “I'm not calling for anything. I am not a politician or social reformer but people have responded to the song and told me someone needs to ask the questions that it asks. It gets a strong reaction. We outlaw drugs and out the supply of drugs in the hands of international terrorists.

“These young women can only get illegal drugs by selling their bodies and we pretend we have nothing to do with it.”

Mr Hopper said he would make a donation to the Somebody's Daughter Memorial Fund from the proceeds of the album.

He added: “The CD is already attracting attention so hopefully it will sell copies and I would like to contribute to the Somebody's Daughter appeal.”

-The Less Blessed by The Simon Hopper Band is available now

- What do you think of The Ballad of the Suffolk Five? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to

Somebody's Daughter Memorial Fund - In Profile

- The Somebody's Daughter Memorial Fund was launched in conjunction with Ipswich Borough Council in December 2006.

- The appeal has a mandate of helping vulnerable young people in Ipswich.

- The ultimate goal is to raise enough money to open a refuge where those embroiled in prostitution and drugs can seek support and guidance.

- Among the trustees of the Somebody's Daughter Memorial Fund, a registered charity, are Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks, borough council leader Liz Harsant and Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover.

- Donations to the memorial fund can be made online at, in person at Ipswich Borough Council's customer service centre in the Town Hall, by calling 01473 433777, or by sending a cheque, made payable to Somebody's Daughter Memorial Fund, to PO Box 772, Ipswich Borough Council, Grafton House, 15-17 Russell Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 2DE.

The Lyrics - some of the lyrics of The Ballad of the Suffolk Five.

“Come listen to my story I'll tell to you a tale

Of Ipswich Town in wintertime and the horrors it entailed

Five working girls who walked the streets for money, they were slain

Leaving honest folk the question of who was to blame.

And though you may choose to avert your eyes

Cross the road, walk on the other side

These very women and the men who pay them for their time

Come from families just like yours and families just like mine

They're pushed into the shadows we want them from our view

They work to buy their drugs from crooks because we force them to

And like any mother, sister, daughter, they live from day to day

To deal with the abandonment of when we look away.”

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