IPSWICH, England - Authorities charged a 48-year-old man with the murder of
five prostitutes whose bodies were recovered near this English town earlier this
month, police said Thursday.
Police identified the suspect
as Steve Wright, who lives in the city's red-light district and was taken into
custody in Ipswich Tuesday.
A woman reads the front page of the 20 December 2006 edition
of The Sun, featuring pictures of a man named by the paper as 48 year-old
Steve Wright (top), one of two suspects currently in police custody in
connection with the murders of five prostitutes in Ipswich. Police probing
the killings of five prostitutes in the English town of Ipswich were
sharing notes with a neighboring force trying to resolve sex worker
murders dating back to 1992. [AFP]
"Stephen Wright from Ipswich has been charged with the murder of all five
women," Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Gull said at a news conference.
He said that a 37-year-old man who had been arrested Monday was released on
bail pending further inquires.
Prosecutor Michael Crimp said there was "sufficient evidence" to charge
Wright with the murders of Tania Nicol, Anneli Alderton, Paula Clennell, Annette
Nicholls and Gemma Adams.
"As the case has developed we have been carefully examining and assessing the
evidence in order to come to a charging decision at the earliest possible
opportunity," Crimp said.
Wright was to appear in court Friday, he said.
Investigators had until Friday evening to charge or release the 37-year-old
man - identified in news reports as Tom Stephens. He had been arrested at his
home in Trimley St. Martin, 8 miles southeast of Ipswich, where all the victims
All five victims had been working as prostitutes and their naked bodies were
found in rural areas around Ipswich over a period of about 10 days beginning
Three of the bodies were found near the main road and the rail line between
Ipswich and Trimley; the two others were discovered near the same road in areas
south and southwest of Ipswich.
The British Broadcasting Corp. and other media reported earlier that Wright
worked as a forklift driver and had lived in the area since September. Neighbors
said the man was often seen washing his dark blue Ford Mondeo inside and out.
News reports identified Stephens as a part-time taxi driver, supermarket
worker and former volunteer police officer. He was quoted in an interview with
the Sunday Mirror newspaper as saying he knew all the victims, and regarded
himself as their protector.
News of the arrest came a day after an inquest into the deaths of Tania
Nicol, Anneli Alderton, Paula Clennell, and Annette Nicholls. An inquest into
the death of the fifth victim, Gemma Adams, 25, was held last week.
Clennell, 24, died of compression to her neck, and Alderton, 24, was
strangled, a senior pathologist determined. Post-mortem examinations of the
bodies of Nicol, 19, and Nicholls, 29, reached no conclusion on the cause of