Murder accused Wright 'preyed on prostitutes'

STEVE Wright murdered five prostitutes during a 10-day period shortly before Christmas 2006, a jury was told today.Prosecutor Peter Wright QC told jurors at Ipswich Crown Court that the 49-year-old was responsible for the deaths of the five women.

STEVE Wright murdered five prostitutes during a 10-day period shortly before Christmas 2006, a jury was told today.

Prosecutor Peter Wright QC told jurors at Ipswich Crown Court that the 49-year-old was responsible for the deaths of the five women.

Mr Wright, who opened the prosecution case just before 11.40am, told jurors: “We say at the end of the trial you will be satisfied that he (Steve Wright) was indeed responsible for the murder of each of these five women.”

He later added: “It is the prosecution case that, either alone or in conjunction with another, these deaths were the handiwork of the defendant and for a period of six-and-a-half weeks he had preyed upon women working as prostitutes in and around Ipswich.”

Mr Wright told the court that the disappearance of the women and the discovery of their bodies was the work of someone engaged in deliberate campaign of murder directed at the working prostitutes of Ipswich.

He said there were “striking” similarities between the girls - all were young, all were addicted to hard drugs and all had to work as prostitutes to support their habit.

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Each was found totally naked and abandoned on the outskirts of Ipswich and in each case there were circumstances similar to asphyxiation or compression to the neck, the jurors were told.

Mr Wright said, given the similarities, it was reasonable to conclude that the deaths were not an accident.

“People do not die of natural causes, accident or misadventure with such frequency only to end up abandoned and dumped naked with the regularity that seems to have afflicted women working the streets of Ipswich during late 2006,” Mr Wright said.

He claimed there was one “common denominator” in each death - the defendant, Steve Wright.

Forklift truck driver Wright, of London Road, Ipswich, has denied murdering Tania Nicol, 19, Paula Clennell, 24, Anneli Alderton, 24, Gemma Adams, 25, and Annette Nicholls, 29, between October 29 and December 13, 2006.

Wright, wearing a dark suit, white shirt, striped tie and glasses, is in the dock flanked by security guards listening to the proceedings through earphones.

The court was told the five women went missing in six-and-a-half week period from late October to early December 2006.

Mr Wright told jurors that in the ten days between December 2 and 12, the bodies “began to turn up”.

The first two bodies were found in an area to the south west of Ipswich in the vicinity of Hintlesham and Copdock.

The third, found on December 10, was found near Nacton.

Then, on December 12, two further bodies were found, near Levington.

The court was told each of the victims had a drug problem at the time of their death.

Mr Wright said: “In each of their cases this decision was ultimately to prove fatal.”

Wright, a 49-year-old former pub landlord, was charged with murdering the women after their bodies were found in countryside on the outskirts of Ipswich during a ten-day period shortly before Christmas that year.

Each of Wright's alleged victims had been working as prostitutes in the red-light district of Ipswich on the nights they disappeared.

Tania Nicol was the first to go missing and her disappearance was reported to police on November 1, 2006, after she failed to return home.

Miss Adams was reported missing on November 15, 2006, just over two weeks after Miss Nicol disappeared. Her body was found in Belstead Brook at Hintlesham on December 2 that year.

Less than a week later Miss Nicol's body was found two miles downstream at Copdock Mill.

Miss Alderton's body was found in woodland at Nacton on December 10 and two days later the bodies of Miss Clennell and Miss Nicholls were found nearby at Levington.

A new jury for the trial was sworn in this morning after the original panel was discharged due to one of the juror's health problems.

Timothy Langdale QC is heading the defence team. High Court Judge Mr Justice Gross is presiding over the trial, which is expected to last between six and eight weeks.

The trial continues.

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