profile of a serial killer?
This is the guy who Brit police have arrested for the slayings of five pritish prostitutes.
The interview is a little creepy, but only a little.
Link to the aricle is here, complete with an audio clip.
17 December 2006
RIPPER HUNT: THE SUSPECT
EXCLUSIVE RIPPER HUNT: THE SUSPECT The girls were the 5 best looking prostitutes in Ipswich There is something about me women do not like
Interview By Michael Duffy
A PRIME SUSPECT in the Ipswich Ripper killings can today be revealed as supermarket worker Tom Stephens, who has been questioned FOUR TIMES by police.
The Sunday Mirror tracked down the 37-year-old loner and he chillingly confessed between sobs: "I am a friend of all the girls, ...but I don't have any alibis."
Sobbing uncontrollably, recently-divorced Stephens (below), 37, says he became the girls' "protector" and would have had "complete opportunity" to carry out the crime as "the girls trusted me so much".
Click on the above image to hear the interview.
He also admits he could be arrested in connection with their murders as he fits the profile of the Ipswich Ripper but strenuously denies any involvement.
Well-spoken Stephens said he has been questioned under caution by cops hunting the killer and had his home and car searched by forensic teams.
Yesterday Suffolk police sources confirmed to the Sunday Mirror that Stephens was a suspect in the murders of Tania Nichol, 19, Gemma Adams, 25, Annette Nicholls, 29, Anneli Alderton, 24, and Paula Clennell, 24.
During an emotional interview with our reporter, he said: "I'm a friend of all the girls. I was closest to Tania. And Gemma as well. I was close to others as well. But I should have been there to watch over them." He also said: "I don't have alibis for some of the times - actually I'm not entirely sure I have tight alibis for any of the times. But I'm not worried about being charged - I'm innocent."
Stephens turned to the street-walking prostitutes of Ipswich 18 months ago after his eight-year marriage collapsed.
He grew close to all of the area's prostitutes but was especially devoted to Tania, who was the first to be murdered. He said he was the "nearest thing to a boyfriend" she had. He said he was also close to Gemma, who went missing at the same time as Tania.
And he said that the killer had picked off the five "prettiest" prostitutes in Ipswich.
He said: "Gemma and Tania, the ones I was closest to are the best looking girls who do this in Ipswich. In fact, they were probably the top five. Over time I have been involved with most of the girls. If you count, there are about 50 over the last year."
And he added: "From the police profiling it does look like me - white male between 25 and 40, knows the area, works strange hours. The bodies have got close to my house.
"If new information, coincidental information, crops up, I could get arrested."
But he said: "I know I am innocent and I am completely confident it won't go as far as me being charged."
Stephens said he was quizzed by cops once in a car and three times at Ipswich police stations. The first interview was just days after Tania was reported missing on October 30. The second interview was conducted under caution and recorded, he claims.
Forensic teams continue to search for clues
Stephens lives alone on a new estate near Felixstowe, two miles from where the bodies of Paula and Annette were found and has been suspended from his supermarket job. He poured out his heart in the passenger seat of Sunday Mirror reporter Michael Duffy's car in a pub car park near his home. Here is the transcript of the interview:
MICHAEL DUFFY: Your name has cropped up in the investigation because you know the girls.
TOM STEPHENS: I'm going to cry.
MD: That's OK mate. How did you know the girls?
TS: I'm friends of half the girls. Of the girls who went missing Tania was the one I was closest to. Gemma I was pretty close to, along with others. Some of them are still out there and I should be watching over them.
MD: Do you feel they need watching over?
TS: If Tania hadn't been the first I would be out there in the street watching over her now. I could have been there for the others. If I was out there tonight I could watch over a girl but I would tell her that I can't keep her safe.
MD: Police have shown an interest in you. Are you worried that you could end up in the frame for the murders?
TS: I could get arrested. That is quite likely, let's not say likely, let's say possible. If a car very like mine is seen in the area - up a lane somewhere - then I'd expect police would arrest me and question me very hard.
MD: They might question you, but why would they arrest you? They would only arrest you if they thought you were guilty.
TS: I would have complete opportunity, the girls would have trusted me so much. If I had blindfolded them and taken them to the edge of a cliff and said take two steps but take three and you'll go over - they would have taken the two steps. From the police profiling it does look like me - white male between 25 and 40, knows the area, works strange hours. The bodies have got close to my house. I know that I'm innocent. But I don't have alibis for some of the times - actually I'm not entirely sure I have tight alibis for any of the times.
MD: I came here to speak to you assuming you were someone who has been ruled out. If it was my job to catch the killer, I'd be taking a close look at you based on what you have said.
TS: Don't think I'm pointing out my guilt, because this is almost the worst example to give but in the case of the Yorkshire Ripper he was arrested released and later charged. But in his case he was obviously guilty, but at that point they thought he was innocent.
MD: Well you're fitting the pattern aren't you? I mean I came down here assuming you weren't guilty.
TS: I feel it. I feel it.
MD: Tell me about Tania.
TS: She was a lovely, sweet girl. It's so easy to believe her mother didn't know what she was doing because she didn't fit the image at all. She was tiny, you could pick her up with one hand. Because the drugs do make the girls skinny it didn't look out of place on her because she was so tiny. Some of the girls do look like walking skeletons. She had worked in a parlour. She was separate from the other girls on the street and I was trying to persuade her to go back into a parlour. But because she was sliding away she was getting less organised. She looked like a young girl going to a party. She still spent money on clothes, not simply drugs, and would give hand-medowns to the other girls. She would sometimes stay overnight with a client - it was better money. She would always tell her mother she was just staying at a friend's place. She was 19, a little bit crazy, but no crazier than half a million 19-year-old girls across the country.
MD: Did you love Tania?
TS: No. But Annette thought we were together. We weren't boyfriend and girlfriend, but I was the closest thing she had to a boyfriend and in behaviour she was the closest thing I had to a girlfriend. I didn't love her. But I should have been there for her.
MD: How did you first meet them?
TS: I don't want to say, so you can guess.
MD: I'm guessing you started out as a punter and grew close to the girls.
TS: If you're not at the centre of the dartboard, then you're darn close.
(Bursts into tears)
MD: You seem a smart, well-educated man. How is it that you can spend time with these people. How is it that you can find common ground with them?
TS: I'm sad and lonely. I made compromises on my morals to go down (to the red light area) the first time, so I suppose getting involved with them isn't a huge leap. If you want to have any relationship with a working girl you have to accept the drugs. They work to do drugs as much as they breathe to live.
MD: What does your family think about all of this?
TS: I am from a good household. I have only told my mother today. I've been a terrible son, she is very ill. I was supposed to be looking after her on Monday, but I don't know whether I'm up to it now.
MD: How did she take it? Was she upset?
TS: It was a bolt from the blue. More so because there is a big murder inquiry and I know some of the girls who have died is more...really... that hit her right between the eyes rather than the prostitution. I have been shielding myself behind the white lie of being a friend of Tania's mum.
MD: When were you first interviewed by police?
TS: She (Tania) went missing Monday night (October 30), Wednesday I spoke to her mum. Within a couple of days I spoke to a couple of officers in a car for an hour. They asked me and I went voluntarily to the police station. They wanted to put it on tape so that nothing would be lost. No information would be lost. In notes things can be lost.
MD: You seem an intelligent guy, you're a good-looking bloke. Why spend time with drug-addicted prostitutes? Why not find yourself a nice girl.
TS: On paper I should be attractive, but there is something about me women do not like.
MD: Do you have a theory about what happened?
TS: I did think it wasn't someone who was known to the girls at all...I have no idea. I've been listening to police reports. If I give you a theory it would be based on what they said, not anything I know. They keep talking about killer or killers, which may mean there is more than one person. It does occur to me that Gemma's body was found near where she used to take clients. Similarly Tania used to take clients close to where she was found.
Stephens went on for a further two hours, describing the hardship of streetwalking prostitutes and sobbing openly about the death of his friends.
MD: Is there anything you can do to help police?
TS: I've got to. It's not possible for me to do enough. If I got out of this car now and through my own initiative caught the man now, that wouldn't be enough. It wouldn't bring them back.
MD: It wasn't your job to protect them.
TS: What was it my job to do? It was.
MD: But who says?
TS: That was the relationship we had. I was hoping the police would release something to say they do not hold me in direct suspicion. I was reading on Ceefax that there were 50 suspects, I can't expect not to be on that list. I tried to be there for them and I will try to help police.
MD: Tell me how you were a friend of the girls?
TS: I'm a friend of all the girls. I was closest to Tania. And Gemma as well. I was close to others as well. But I should have been there to watch over them.
MD: Do you feel they need to be watched over?
TS: If I was out there tonight, if there was a girl working, I would try to watch over her. But I'd tell her: "I can't keep you safe." I'd try to give her some sort of support. Some of them have nobody else at all.
MD: And that makes you feel needed?
(Stephens breaks down)
TS: It's good that I'm crying. Tania went missing on October 30 and I haven't started crying yet.
MD: Take your time.
TS (still sobbing): I wasn't there for Tania, there were things I could have told her mother but didn't. I haven't spoken to Tania's mum since the disappearance.
MD: Have police searched your home?
TS: Yes they searched my house.
MD: When was that?
TS: It was on November 22. They took all of the morning until 1pm?
M What were they wearing?
TS: There were two groups of officers. The first wore white plastic suits. The second group - who wore plain clothes - couldn't come in until they had finished. They searched my car as well. Actually, they flattened my battery.
M: But no bodies had been discovered by then - only Gemma and Tania had been reported missing.
TS: I don't remember when the bodies were discovered.
MD: You're not from Ipswich?
TS: Born in Ipswich. Grew up in Norwich.
MD: You have an English accent, not the same as other people from Ipswich or Norwich.
TS: Well yes, some people say I am posh. I came from quite a good household.
MD: Police are taking an interest in you.
TS: They've spoken to me.
MD: Four times?
MD: Did they interview you under caution?
MD: Do you understand what under caution means?
TS. Yes. I suppose if they want to interview a person on tape they have to do it under caution.
MD: Who are the pimps?
TS: There are no pimps in Ipswich. I know nothing about massage parlours, but there are no pimps who run a number of girls (on the street). I suppose my actions - by the legal definition I'm nowhere near that. But by my behaviour, I'd be as close as there was to a pimp. I knew a lot of girls and I used to run them about. If there was such a thing as a pimp he'd take money for it.
MD: Did you take money for it?
TS: I used to occasionally take petrol money but I certainly wouldn't have filled up on what I was getting. Some of the girls have boyfriends who are dominant over them, forcing them to work and supporting their habit as well. That's about as close as there is to a pimp in Ipswich. There is so much lying that goes on with the girls you have to be very careful. I used to give worn-out tee-shirts to the girls. I've spoken to girls and they've said: "Why are they (police) questioning you? They shouldn't be doing that. You help us." I say they have to suspect anybody and everybody. They can't see me giving them lifts lending them money and say: "We'll leave him alone." So I have to convince the girls it is right the police question me. But I know I am innocent and I am certain it won't go as far as me being charged. I am completely confident of that. It's not unusual for someone to be arrested, released without charge and then someone else be arrested and charged.
Reporting Team: SUSIE BONIFACE, RORY SMITH