UK: A sex worker found dead after a flat fire had been strangled.

Andrea Waddell

Andrea Waddell

Andrea Joanne Waddell, 29, was found at her home in Upper Lewes Road, Brighton, by firefighters late on Thursday night.

Today Sussex Police said the clean-living masters student had been leading a secret life as a sex worker in the city.

A post mortem examination carried out yesterday revealed Ms Waddell was strangled.

Speaking at a press conference at Brighton Police Station Detective Chief Inspector Adam Hibbert, the officer leading the murder investigation, described Ms Waddell as a “sociable girl” who was well known in Brighton but enjoyed her privacy.

He said: “She was not known to drink, smoke or take drugs.

“She was very close to her family who she saw about once a month and she spoke to regularly to her mother.

“However the other side of Andrea’s life wasn’t so well known.

“Through our enquiries we believe she was a sex worker in the Brighton and Hove area. She was discreet about her work but we believe she sometimes took clients back to her address.”

DCI Hibbert appealed to other sex workers to come forward to help police with their enquiries.

He said: “We will continue to follow up every lead we can but clearly we need the public’s help, particularly among the sex community.”

He added that officers were aware that it was a “sensitive area” but said: “We assure you of this, people who come forward will be treated with the utmost sensitivity.

“Our priority is to find the person who murdered Andrea.

“We will do everything we can to achieve it, but we do need the help of the public.

“We appeal for anyone in the area who saw anything suspicious or anyone hanging around in the area to come forward.

“Also if there is anyone with any information out there about Andrea. Did you know her or did she tell you something?”

Officers are trying to establish when Ms Waddell was last seen alive, but it is thought to have been at some time on Thursday.

It is believed the Ms Waddell lived alone in the first-floor flat, where the fire was contained in the bedroom of property.

Enquiries are being carried out to establish whether she had a boyfriend DCI Hibbert said a “significant part” of the enquiry was to establish why the fire was set. It is not yet known how it began.

Forensic officers are expected to remain at the scene for a number of days while an “extensive and through examination” is carried out.

He said: “We have a number of officers now working around the clock carrying out numerous lines of enquiry. We are trying to talk to as many people as possible who knew Andrea personally or through her work.”

Ms Waddell grew up in Reading and studied a philosophy degree at the University of Durham.

She moved to Brighton about five years ago and completed a masters degree in social and political thought at the University of Sussex.

In a statement her parents Sonia and Robin, who live in Reading and her brother Nick said: “Our darling, beloved Andrea.

“We want the world to know hoe much we love her and how proud of her we are and always will be.

“She endured so much pain and suffering in her life – she still had constant pain – and was brave, resilient and loving.

“Our lives will never be the same again but we will never stop loving her, being proud of her and being grateful for having her with us for 29 years.”

Ms Waddell had suffered from a number of health problems.

Anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area or who has any Ms Waddell is urged to contact Sussex Police on 0845 6070999, quoting serial 1925 of October 15, Operation Merewood.

See original at The Argus

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