Murder trial could last two months

MURDER accused Steve Wright has appeared at the Old Bailey today for a hearing into the deaths of five women killed in Suffolk last December. The 49-year-old went before High Court Judge Mr Justice Gross to hear his trial in January could last up to two months.

MURDER accused Steve Wright has appeared at the Old Bailey today for a hearing into the deaths of five women killed in Suffolk last December.

The 49-year-old went before High Court Judge Mr Justice Gross shortly after 10.30am for a review of how the case is progressing.

Wright, of London Road, spoke only to confirm his name during the 25-minute hearing.

He was wearing a dark suit, white shirt and navy tie and was flanked by three security guards. His thinning grey hair was short and tidy and he clutched a bundle of papers as he sat in the dock.

A young woman was the only person present in the public gallery; no family members of Wright's alleged victims were present.

During the hearing the defence and prosecution barristers outlined the progress they were making in the lead up to the trial.

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Peter Wright QC prosecuting said work to prepare for trial was on course although he added that some aspects were proving painstakingly slow.

Timothy Langdale QC defending said the trial is expected to last between six and eight weeks.

Mr Justice Gross who confirmed he would be the trial judge after earlier hearings were conducted by Justice Calvert-Smith said the provisional trial date remains as January 14 2008.

A sole representative of Suffolk Police, Roy Lambert was present at the hearing.

Mr Lambert who recently retired from the force has been kept in a civilian role to oversee liaison between police and the Crown Prosecution Service in the run up to the trial.

Today's hearing is the first time Wright has appeared in court outside Ipswich.

All five women Wright stands accused of murdering had worked as prostitutes in Ipswich's Red Light District.

Their bodies were found in rural locations on the outskirts of Ipswich during a ten-day period in December last year.

At his last court appearance at Ipswich Crown Court on May 1 Wright pleaded not guilty to murdering Gemma Adams, 25, Tania Nicol, 19, Anneli Alderton, 24, Paula Clennell, 24 and Annette Nicholls, 29.

The Old Bailey officially known as London Central Criminal Court is probably the most famous criminal court in the world and has been the capitals principal criminal court for centuries.

It hears cases remitted to it from all over England and Wales as well as the Greater London area.

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