Time of reflection for Suffolk

AS THE horror of the last fortnight begins to sink in today, communities across Suffolk will turn to reflect on the events that have rocked the county.

AS THE horror of the last fortnight begins to sink in today, communities across Suffolk will turn to reflect on the events that have rocked the county.

In the last six weeks five women's lives have been lost, five families have been shattered and five young children have been left in turmoil.

Reports are also emerging that the killer has taken another young life as it is revealed that 24-year-old victim Anneli Alderton was three months pregnant.

A police spokesman said: “We can confirm that Anneli Alderton was around three months pregnant.

“The information was not made public as soon as we became aware of it because it was not deemed relevant.”

It was also revealed that police have narrowed their search to five suspects.

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Now, according to church and community leaders in Suffolk, is the time to look forward in hope and to let good, and not evil, prevail.

Tomorrow churches throughout Ipswich will open their doors for a special service called, A Service of Hope for the People of Ipswich.

In it, prayers will be offered to Gemma Adams, Tania Nicol, Paula Clennell, Annette Nicholls and Miss Alderton and a moment of silent prayer will be held for people to reflect on recent events.

And last night prayers were said at a special service at St Peter's Church, Copdock where Miss Nicol's body was discovered in Belstead Brook last week.

The Reverend Andrew Dotchin, vicar of the parish of Whitton, is anticipating 100 to 130 people will attend the service at St Mary and St Botolph Church on Sunday. At least 30 are also expected at a service at the Church of the Ascension in Larchcroft Road, Ipswich.

Mr Dotchin said: “On the (Whitton) estate the feeling is this could have been one of our families quite easily.

“This is a service of hope. We are lighting candles to move into a time of light. It is time to put up our Christmas decorations and sing the carols loudly.

“The hymns in the service will be hymns of celebration rather than mournful hymns.

“It is a time for lighting the lights rather than cursing the darkness.”

A special prayer will also be read in the service which has been written by Suffolk police chaplain Bruce Wakeling.

He said: “A lot of people are scurrying around trying to do things all over the place and I decided that the best thing I could do for them, rather than getting in the way at this time, was to pray for them.

"Those who've died in this horrible set of circumstances are very much in our prayers, as are their families, but I think the police often get forgotten and I wanted to make sure they were recognised.

"The prayer needed to be calm and comforting but it needed to be realistic as well."

The prayer, called A Prayer for Ipswich This December, will be read in churches across the county, including those in Nacton and Levington - the villages where first Miss Alderton's body was found and later the bodies of Miss Clennell, 24, and Miss Nicholls, 29.

The prayer will be also be spoken at All Saints Church in Kesgrave, in the town where Gemma Adams, 25, grew up.

Elsewhere a minute's silence will be held at the Triangle Church in Dickens Road, Ipswich.

The church is holding its annual carol service at 6pm on Sunday and will also be remembering the five murdered women.

Several people on the Triangle estate would have known Tania Nicol, 19, who attended Chantry High School.

Meanwhile, Bramford Road Methodist Church has said it will open its doors to the public every day next week.

The church will be open from 9am to 3.30pm every weekday.

A Prayer for Ipswich this December

Lord Jesus, who came amongst us the first Christmas

so that the people who dwelt in darkness might see

your great light, lighten our darkness at this time of

sorrow and fear.

We pray for those who have been killed:

that you will look in compassion

on their troubled lives and deaths.

For their families and friends;

that you will strengthen them

in their grief and helplessness.

For our police, who on our behalf

are facing hard and unpleasant work;

that they may be sustained and upheld

in what lies before them.

And for us all, that your love and protection may be

overstretched over us, now and always. Amen.