Fears over violence in Suffolk town

Friday, 29 June, 2007

THE mother of a murder victim has voiced her fears over a surge in violent crime in a Suffolk town.

The concern was raised just hours after a 24-year-old man was stabbed in St Andrew's Street North in Bury St Edmunds - the latest in a string of alarming incidents.

Police cordoned off the road and the victim, who is thought to have staggered 50 yards up the street before collapsing, was treated at West Suffolk Hospital before being released last night. Police are questioning two men, aged 23 and 24, in connection with the incident.

It comes just days after an investigation was launched into the death of 42-year-old mother-of-five Joanne Morley in Eagle Walk on Sunday, and Hamed Krich was left fighting for his life after an attack in Fornham Road on Saturday.

Mr Krich, 40, was last night described as being stable but seriously ill at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

In a little over six months, the once tranquil town of Bury has been rocked by three killings and a number of serious assaults.

Jean Walker, whose 37-year-old daughter Dawn was murdered in Fornham in February 2005, said: 'Bury is becoming more violent and it is becoming an uncomfortable place to live because of what is happening around here.

'It makes you wonder what is happening and why people are becoming more violent.'

Miss Walker's boyfriend Kevin Nunn was jailed for her murder last November.

In 2005-2006 - the most recent year for which figures are available - there were 1,454 offences classed as 'violence against the person' in the borough of St Edmundsbury. This compares with 964 violent offences recorded in 2000-2001 and 370 in 1997-1998.

The town's MP David Ruffley called for a debate on whether to extend CCTV into the town's residential areas.

He said: 'What is different and what is shocking and new is the level of violence. There's a visibility of violent attacks which would have been unthinkable when I became an MP 10 years ago.'

But Chief Inspector Mike Bacon, district commander, said Bury remained a safe place to live adding: 'The message I want to get across is although we've had several incidents in the space of a week is that they are all isolated, not connected and involve people known to each other.

'We have had a number of incidents in a short space of time. But between the beginning of April and June 28 this year there have been 16% fewer serious violent offences than during the same period the year before.'

John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: 'Despite these unfortunate incidents, Bury remains one of the safest and most lovely areas to live in - and it is down to everybody to help make sure it stays that way.'