Steve Wright was tried and found guilty of the murders of five women. He had pleaded not guilty to killing Tania Nicol, Gemma Adams, Anneli Alderton, Paula Clennell and Annette Nicholls between 29 October and 13 December, 2006.
The trial began on 14 January, 2008. This is a summary of the six-week case at Ipswich Crown Court.
The Steve Wright Ipswich murders, commonly known as the work of the Suffolk Strangler, took place between 30 October and 10 December 2006, during which time the bodies of five murdered women were discovered at different locations near Ipswich, Suffolk, England. All of the victims were women who had worked as prostitutes in the Ipswich area. Their bodies were discovered naked, but there were no signs of sexual assault. Two of the victims, Anneli Alderton and Paula Clennell, were confirmed to have been killed by asphyxiation. A cause of death for the other victims, Gemma Adams, Tania Nicol and Annette Nicholls, was not established.
Suffolk Police linked the killings and launched a murder investigation codenamed Operation Sumac. Due to the size of the investigation police officers were drafted from several other police forces. Two arrests were made in connection with the murders. The first suspect, who was never officially named by police, was released without charge. Forklift truck driver Steven Gerald James Wright, then aged 48, was arrested on suspicion of murder on 19 December 2006 and charged with the murders of all five women on 21 December.
Wright was remanded in custody and his trial began on 14 January 2008 at Ipswich Crown Court. Wright pleaded not guilty to the charges, although he admitted having sex with all five victims and that he had been patronising prostitutes since the 1980s. DNA and fibre evidence was presented to the court that linked Wright to the victims. He was found guilty of all five murders on 21 February 2008, and was sentenced the following day to life imprisonment, with a recommendation that he should never be released from prison.
The murders received a large amount of media attention, both nationally and internationally. The murders have been likened by the press to those by Peter Sutcliffe, the "Yorkshire Ripper" who was convicted of murdering 13 women (and wounding seven others), mainly those who worked as prostitutes, over a period of five years from 1975 to 1980 in northern England and to "Jack the Ripper", the infamous Victorian serial murderer who also targeted prostitutes. There was some concern that the level of media coverage at the time could jeopardise a trial. The murders also sparked debates in the media over the laws surrounding prostitution.
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