STREETLIGHTS will remain off in Greenstead even though Colchester's killers are still on the loose.

The lights which were turned on to help with the search and provide reassurance are off again in Greenstead.

Residents are urging Essex County Council to change its mind.

Essex University student Nahid Al-Manea, 31, was found with 16 stab wounds on the Salary Brook Trail on June 17.

Jacqueline Allan, 49, of Avon Way, Greenstead, said: “While they are still investigating, while the killer is out there, they can’t have the lights off.

"We need them back on. People are scared.”

The murder came three months after Jim Attifled, 33, was killed near Colchester’s Castle Park.

He was found with 102 stab wounds on March 29.

Street lights were turned back on temporarily on the nearby Riverside estate, but were turned off again within weeks.

A police spokesman said: “The lights were kept on in Greenstead after the murder to support the significant operational response to the investigation of the scene.

"That part of the operation has been completed and the force has no plans to request an extension.”

Rodney Bass, cabinet member for highways and transportation at County Hall, said: “Police requested street lights were kept on in the Greenstead area on a temporary basis after the murder of Nahid Almanea last month.

"“This request, like others from the emergency services, was granted.

“Part night lighting has now resumed in the area following the conclusion of investigations at the scene.

“Police have made no request for an extension.”

Anyone with information about the murders should call 01245 282103 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh yesterday visited the university to sign a book of condolence
for Nahid on the same day the Gazette revealed CCTV cameras close to where Nahid's body were found are broken.

Detectives have admitted their murder hunt has been hampered by poor-quality images, and in some cases, no images at all, because of broken cameras.

Both cameras at the Clingoe Hill underpass, 50 yards from the spot in Colchester where Nahid was found with 16 stab wounds, are out of action.

Police have been unable to trace at least 11 potential witnesses seen on the Salary Brook Trail where her body was found. It is likely most would have used the underpass.

So far, the only CCTV image police have been able to release was Nahid walking past local shops moments before she was killed.

Police were also only able to use images from one of the cameras close to where Jim Attfield's body was found near to Castle Park on the morning of Saturday, March 29, with the others described as "fuzzy"

The news has prompted borough councillor and Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator Martin Goss, to call for an urgent review of CCTV coverage in Colchester.

He said: “There are cameras in Mile End and Greenstead but they are not wired into the network. We wouldn’t know if they were not working until something happened.

“We are paying for cameras that are not working or are not good enough, so we might as well not bother. It comes down to money, but we have to look at this and a thorough review should take place.”

The cameras at the underpass were put up seven years ago by Colchester Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership, but were put out of action by flooding in November 2011.

Pamela Donnelly, chairman of the Safer Colchester Partnership, which is now responsible for them, said: “After severe flooding damage, the cameras were not bought back into operation as extra funding was not available to cover the extensive maintenance costs.

“A camera put up by the partnership is operating near the Hunwicke shops and images assisting the investigation have been released by the police.”

Det Chief Supt Steve Worron, who is leading the murder investigation, admitted better CCTV footage would have helped.

He added: “We have to work with what we have available.

“Local authority CCTV is always slightly grainy, because it needs to work in all weather conditions. The public thinks Big Brother is watching, but in some places where people think there are cameras, there are just empty boxes.

“However, I don’t think about what could have been. Clearly, as we move through to the end of an investigation, we will review what can be done to stop such serious crimes in the future.

“There is clearly work community safety partnerships can do nationally on picture quality.

You can get high-definition images now and not all CCTV is on that level.”

Mr Worron said police did have some clearer images, but had not released because they had already identified the people in them.

He added: “The public just see the images we have not been able to identify, which are often the more grainy ones.”