Vicky's passion for dancing

PUBLISHED: 19:41 20 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:53 03 March 2010

NIGHTLIFE in Felixstowe is like a village.

Most of the people out and about know each other from school and work, or through socialising in the pubs and bars.

NIGHTLIFE in Felixstowe is like a village.

Most of the people out and about know each other from school and work, or through socialising in the pubs and bars.

There is both an intimacy and a

camaraderie – in a sense they are a family, dancing, laughing and drinking together.

Often it's a closeness which becomes too much to handle. The police are called into action around 100 times a year to deal with public disorder incidents outside the seafront clubs, the ninth highest rate of

disturbance in the county.

Many revellers flit between the three seafront nightclubs, others have a favourite they stick to. Evenings can be relatively quiet or they can be buzzing.

Some do go off to Ipswich to sample the different styles of clubs there, but many prefer to "stay home" by the seaside, on their patch.

Vicky Hall had only been out clubbing a handful of times.

It was still a relatively new experience for her and she was still finding her feet in a world of young adults, with lots of new temptations.

She and best friend Gemma Algar had only been to the Bandbox five times before the night she was killed and mostly they kept themselves to themselves, not trying to attract attention and just seeing what went on.

Sometimes they met up with a few girlfriends from school. Occasionally, they bumped into boys they knew.

But really they went to dance – Vicky's passion in life – and to take the next step on the ladder towards adulthood.

They just loved being part of the nightlife scene for the first time, excited and nervous at going to a nightclub. Enjoying a bag of chips from a takeaway afterwards was all part of the experience.

Seeing what happened, what the other girls' gossiped about.

It wasn't a dangerous place. It was high-spirited. It was fun. It was great just to be on the sidelines, juniors in a strange new world.

One 19-year-old woman told The Evening Star: "I knew Vicky from school but I didn't ever see her in the Bandbox.

"Lots of us started going out and about in the clubs from 16 and 17 onwards – no-one ever asks you how old you are and we all look a lot older than we are, especially when we dressed up for a night out.

"It's quite safe. You sometimes get a guy chatting you up – the worst is when it's someone drunk, but it's just a laugh. The bouncers are pretty good and you can always tell them if you are being pestered.

"You hear tales of drugs being about on the seafront, but it's drink which is the big

temptation. No mums or dads to say yes or no.

"I think parents are quite worried when we first go clubbing – mine definitely were. But when nothing happens, time goes on and everyone accepts it.

"It's just what kids do on a Friday or Saturday night. Even if parents say no, as soon as they are 18 they will go anyway."

Another 19-year-old said: "I had seen Vicky in the Bandbox before. She just danced and danced – she loved the music.

"I saw her outside one night chatting to some boys, too, around some cars. I don't know if she was with any of them – they were just laughing."

Video film from The Bandbox showed that Vicky and Gemma stayed together all night on September 19, 1999.

There were few people on the dance floor – except themselves and a few other girls. When they left, it was together with no-one appearing to follow or accompany them.

They walked along the seafront to The Bodrum Grill – where gangs of teenagers hang out in the early hours after the clubs closed – and sat on a wall eating a bag of chips, watching people come and go.

They usually called a taxi and Vicky's

dad Graham to say they were on their way home.

But this night – possibly because it was warm, perhaps because they had left the club earlier than planned, possibly for other reasons – they decided to walk home.

It was a fatal mistake, but not one which they could ever have foreseen.

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