Killing inquiry mix-up man found dead

A FATHER-of-two wrongly identified by a national newspaper as a suspect in the red-light killings inquiry has been found dead at his home.

A FATHER-of-two wrongly identified by a national newspaper as a suspect in the red-light killings inquiry has been found dead at his home, it emerged today.

Gareth Huw Roberts, 48, was pictured on the front page of the Daily Mail and mistakenly identified as 48-year-old Steve Wright, the man charged with murdering Gemma Adams, 25, Tania Nicol, 19, Anneli Alderton, 24, Paula Clennell, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29.

The error, also repeated inside the paper, arose because the men were both former QE2 stewards, who were pictured 20 years ago on the same photograph.

The newspaper offered a formal apology to Mr Roberts, from Pwllheli, north Wales, and agreed to pay compensation.

He and another man, Ian Stedham, also in his 40s, were found dead yesterday morning at his maisonette.

North Wales Police said the deaths were being treated as “unexplained” but not suspicious at this stage.

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Post mortem examinations were taking place today.

John White, 52, who lived at the flat with Mr Roberts, said he had known him for 24 years.

He said: “Gareth had worked with me at a hotel in Llandudno where I was the manager and he was head waiter.

“I'd known Ian for 20 years and had worked at the Warren in Abersoch with him for 12 years.

“It's a hell of a shock.”

Mr Roberts, speaking to Welsh newspaper The Daily Post on December 23, said he was left “flabbergasted” at the mix-up.

He said: “I went to the newsagents across the road and one of them turned around and said 'your picture is in the paper.'

“I said 'you're joking' and there it was. I felt nauseous.”

He said he had never even been to Ipswich and added: “It's absolutely terrible.”

Real suspect Mr Wright, of London Road, was in the picture but it was cropped to highlight Mr Roberts only - and captioned: “Steve Wright during his time as a crew member on the QE2.”

The headline alongside read: “Suspect could be quizzed over ten murders.”

It is believed a five figure sum was paid by The Daily Mail to Mr Roberts in compensation.

Speaking at the scene yesterday afternoon, detective sergeant Gareth Vaughan said: “There was a phone call this morning. These people hadn't been seen for some time.

“There's nothing to indicate anything suspicious at the moment. Obviously we're keeping our options open.

“At the moment we are treating the deaths as unexplained.”

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