Force reveals details of killings arrest

POLICE investigating the Ipswich red-light killings are believed to have been led to arrest suspect Steve Wright after inquiries into the death of Anneli Alderton, The Evening Star can reveal today.

POLICE investigating the Ipswich red-light killings are believed to have been led to arrest suspect Steve Wright after inquiries into the death of Anneli Alderton, The Evening Star can reveal today.

At the height of the inquiry into the deaths of Tania Nicol, Gemma Adams, Annette Nicholls, Paula Clennell and Miss Alderton, almost every police force in the country was involved in the investigation and one of those forces has now revealed for the first time that Miss Alderton's death was integral to the arrest of Wright.

That force sent an expert to help sift through the huge amount of evidence gathered.

The officer - known as an indexer - was sent to work on the Home Office Large Major Enquiry System (HOLMES) at the height of the investigation and compiled details of her work for a paper for a Police Authority meeting held last month.

The paper read: “She (the indexer) worked on the Op Baize part of the inquiry, which related to the third victim, Anneli Alderton.

“It was the work carried out on this phase of the inquiry which led to the early arrest of the suspect.”

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The body of the pregnant 24-year-old body was found near Amberfield School in Nacton on Sunday, December 10.

She is believed to have been the third victim of the killer or killers stalking Ipswich's red-light area at the end of last year and was the first victim found on dry land.

The body of Miss Nicol, 19, was found two days earlier in Belstead Brook at Copdock, more than a month after she had been reported missing by her mother.

Miss Adams, 25, was found in the same brook at Hintlesham on December 2 and had been missing since the early hours of December 15.

Following the discovery of Miss Alderton's body The Evening Star questioned whether the killer or killers had made their first mistake by disposing of the body in a place where forensic evidence was more likely to be preserved.

Police undertook extensive searches of the area where she was found in the days and weeks after the discovery and, at one stage, cordoned off areas up to Sainsbury's at Warren Heath.

Home Office pathologist Nat Carey conducted a post-mortem examination on Miss Alderton's body on Monday, December 11 and the cause of death was revealed as asphyxiation.

At the time a cause of death for Miss Adams and Miss Nicol had not been fully established and police are yet to reveal how both women died.

Shortly after Miss Alderton's death, her stepsister Jane Lowe told the Star that Miss Alderton would not have submitted easily to her killer and she thought this was why the body had shown signs of a struggle.

Ms Lowe, 25, said: “So far she was the only person found strangled and I think that's because she wouldn't have gone down without a fight.”

Steve Wright, 48, of London Road, Ipswich, has been charged with the murder of Miss Alderton, Miss Nicol and Miss Adams as well as the murders of Miss Clennell, 24, and Miss Nicholls, 29, whose bodies were found at Levington on December 12.

Detective Superintendent Roy Lambert, the senior investigating officer on Operation Baize, was in court for Wright's initial appearance on December 22.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said the force would be making no comment on the case as proceedings were active and a man had been charged.

Wright is due to appear at Ipswich Crown Court on May 1. He is yet to enter a plea.

Tom Stephens, 37, of Trimley St Martin, was also arrested on suspicion of murdering all five women. He is due to answer bail later this month.

Miss Alderton was living in Colchester at the time of her death.

Her mother last saw her on December 3 when she visited her home in Harwich.

The last confirmed sighting of her was on the 5.53pm Harwich to Colchester train on December 3.

Police believe she may have left the train at Manningtree and boarded a train to Ipswich but no CCTV footage of her had been found at Ipswich station in the early stages of the inquiry. It is not known whether further details of her last movements have since been established by police.

Miss Alderton's body was found in woodland near Amberfield School at Nacton on December 10 after a passing motorist saw what they believed to be a naked body. She had not been reported missing.

Following police appeals a member of the public came forward to say they thought they had seen a mannequin at the same site on December 6. It is now thought that that was the body of Miss Alderton.

ANNELI Alderton's death first alerted the world to the horror that a serial killer or killers was preying on the women of Suffolk.

The discovery of a third body in less than a week became a worldwide story and national and international media organisations made it headline news.

Miss Alderton's death seemed all the more chilling because no one had known she was missing and the events became, as detective chief superintendent Stewart Gull said at the time, “a crime in progress”.

As events continued to unfold and Paula Clennell and Annette Nicholls' bodies were found, moving pictures were released of Miss Alderton's last known movements on a train from Harwich to Colchester.

With her hair scraped back in a pony tail and dressed in jeans and a black jacket, she sat, stood and fidgeted as she waited for the train to reach its destination.

The world was stunned as it watched the final movements of a young woman on the journey which led her into the arms of her killer.

There was then further horror as it was revealed that Miss Alderton was three months pregnant at the time of her death and the killer or killers had taken a sixth victim.

Already a mother of one she was three months pregnant and was working as a prostitute on the streets of Ipswich.

Miss Alderton attended Clifford Road Primary School in Ipswich until about 1992 when she moved with her mum to Cyprus.

She became fluent in Greek but later moved back to England and attended Copleston High School.

It was after the death of her father, when she was 15, that Miss Alderton's world began to unravel.

Grief is thought to have led her to take drugs and her addiction to crack eventually led her into prostitution.

Speaking in the days after her death her stepsister Jane Lowe said: “She was very bright, very intelligent. She made you laugh. She was quite cheeky as a teenager. She was a really nice person. She fell in with the wrong crowd.”

Dozens of people left tributes to Miss Alderton on The Evening Star's website expressing their shock and horror at what had happened.

One of the tributes, from a friend known as Bec, read: “Your wonderful smile, endless laughter always made bad situations good.

“You and your bright soul will be remembered by me forever, the times we spent riding bikes, playing in the garden, you were a lively free-spirit with an amazing lust for life.”

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