What has this monster done to my town?

IPSWICH will never be the same again.I hate what has happened to my town over the last two weeks - how what should be a joyful time of the year as we head towards Christmas has turned into an appalling feeding frenzy for people who don't know or understand Ipswich.

By Paul Geater

IPSWICH will never be the same again.

I hate what has happened to my town over the last two weeks - how what should be a joyful time of the year as we head towards Christmas has turned into an appalling feeding frenzy for people who don't know or understand Ipswich.

As someone who feels part of the community of Ipswich as well as reporting on it, the events of the last two weeks have affected me more than any other story in my career.


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When the monster responsible for the killings is eventually caught he will probably be charged with five counts of murder.

While not diminishing the severity of his crimes, I'd like to add a sixth charge - grievous bodily harm of the soul of my town.

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I know it's been said many times before, but this killing spree of the last few days will scar Ipswich for a generation.

Outside the immediate vicinity of the town, Ipswich will be forever seared on the memory of the nation as the home of the Suffolk Strangler - or whatever grim name sticks.

I know that when I meet strangers and when they ask where I'm from, as soon as I say my hometown there'll be an involuntary, almost imperceptible, twitch.

A couple of years ago I met someone from Dunblane. When he said where he was from I didn't realise I showed any reaction - but he noticed it.

I know that for the rest of my life when I introduce myself as being from Ipswich people will no longer associate the place with Bobby Robson's football team - but with these murderous activities.

And what really angers me too is the way my town is being portrayed by national and international media who have flown in to tell their viewers or readers what we're like before flying off to the next big story.

I would have loved Ipswich to have been granted city status a few years ago. But it doesn't impress me too much to hear my town described as a city by so many outside journalists.

If they can't take the trouble to find out the status of the place (the name of the football club should give them a clue) why the hell should we trust a word they say!

Other reporters have gone on about what a quiet, sleepy little place Ipswich is.

Excuse me, we're not talking about Trumpton here. We don't all go dancing in front of the fire station at midday!

If the journalists think Ipswich is quiet and sleepy, they should try visiting Cardinal Park on a Friday or Saturday night.

If they think we're so far off the beaten track, why are so many commuters moving to our Waterfront which is only just over an hour from the City of London?

A few national journalists have had the decency to admit that Ipswich is larger and more cosmopolitan than they thought before they arrived here.

I just hope that enough of them have seen through the horror of the story they are covering to appreciate that at heart this is a vibrant, decent place that it is a pleasure to live and work in.

I'm confident that this killer will soon be caught - and when he is I really hope that normality returns one day.

But I know that won't happen quickly.

There'll be a trial - which could be several months away - which will bring all the media vultures back to the area and remind us all of the horror of these days.

And even after everything is finished and this monster is locked away for the rest of his life, Ipswich will never forget the time when this vicious monster stalked our streets.

My town doesn't deserve that. Ipswich remains a decent place to live in - and I wouldn't want to make my home anywhere else.

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