Hunt for Victoria Hall's killer takes another twist
- Credit: Courtesy of family
The two-decade hunt for Vicky Hall's killer took a further twist on Thursday when it was reported Suffolk strangler Steve Wright was the man arrested on suspicion of her murder.
Suffolk police would neither confirm or deny that it was Wright arrested, but the force did reveal the suspect has been released under investigation - pending further enquiries.
There has long been speculation over whether Wright - who was living in a block of flats in Runnacles Way, Felixstowe, at the time - could be responsible for the killing.
Serial killer Wright, who was born in Erpingham, north Norfolk, and used to be the landlord at the former Ferry Boat pub in King Street, Norwich, murdered Ipswich women Tania Nicol, Gemma Adams, Anneli Alderton, Annette Nicholls, and Paula Clennell in the final few months of 2006.
In a 2008 interview with this newspaper, Miss Hall's parents, Graham and Lorinda Hall, said they did not believe Wright was the man behind their daughter's murder.
Speaking at the time, Mr Hall said: "The police have been to see us three times, including this week, and although they say there were some very similar aspects they say there is no connection with Victoria's death.
“As far as I am concerned I don't believe we will ever find who killed Victoria and the only way will be if someone confesses, someone comes forward who knows who did kill her, or her clothes are found and they contain evidence that finds the person responsible.
"I don't see that is going to happen. I know that sounds defeatist but it has been a long time now and the police have done their very best and kept in touch with us all the way along.”
But rumours circulated due to similarities between Wright's victims and the murder of Miss Hall.
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Miss Hall was found in an isolated water-course, like Gemma Adams and Tania Nicol, and was naked - like all of Wright's victims.
Her clothes were also never found and there was no sign of sexual assault, which was the case with the Ipswich women.
The disappearance of Miss Hall, around 2.30am on Sunday, September 19, 1999, saw of one the biggest manhunts ever seen in Suffolk
Miss Hall and her best friend, Gemma Algar, were walking home to Trimley St Mary after visiting the Bandbox nightclub in Felixstowe.
Miss Hall vanished minutes after saying goodnight to Miss Algar about 200 yards from her home.
Miss Algar, 19, heard a scream a few minutes after she had left Miss Hall.
Several other residents on the estate where Miss Hall lived also heard "horrifying screams" as well as the sound of a "sporty car" roaring away.
Miss Hall's naked body was found five days later in a water-filled ditch 25 miles away at Creeting St Peter.
In 2001, Felixstowe businessman Adrian Bradshaw stood trial charged with Miss Hall's murder but was unanimously cleared by a jury within 90 minutes.
Wright's father, Conrad, who died in January this year aged 84, told this newspaper in 2016 that he still could not fathom why, or if, his son killed five women.
Asked in 2016 what he would say to his son if he was able to talk to him, Mr Wright said: “I think it’s time to clean the slate and be a man and if you’ve done it own up to it.
“It would only hurt me if he’s not guilty. If he’s guilty I’m afraid you’ve got to take your punishment. Even if he said ‘I did it, dad. I’m sorry’.
"It would be nice one way or the other to know whether he did it – for me and the families.
"There is a time when you’ve got to say ‘I’ve got to own up’."
Detectives continue to ask for anyone with information about Miss Hall's death to contact them.
Anyone with information can call the incident room on 01473 782059 and quote Operation Avon, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.