Accused in Ipswich prostitute killings appears in court

A 48-year-old man charged with killing five prostitutes in eastern England was ordered to remain behind bars Friday at his first court appearance.
A 48-year-old mancharged with killing five prostitutes in eastern Englandmade his first court appearance on Friday.
Steven Wright has been charged with the murders of five women. He will appear again in court Jan. 2.

Steven Wright was arrested Tuesday at his home in Ipswich, a town northeast of London where all of the victims had worked as prostitutes.

Brought to Ipswich Magistrates' Court under heavy security, Wright was remanded into custody until Jan. 2, when he will appear before the town's Crown court.

He was charged Thursday with the murders of Gemma Adams, 25, Anneli Alderton, 24, Tania Nicol, 19, Paula Clennell, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29.

Police recovered the bodies of the victims in the countryside earlier this month.

"Steven Wright from Ipswich has been charged with the murder of all five women,"Suffolk police Det. Chief Supt. Stewart Gull said at a news conference.

Prosecutor Michael Crimp said Thursday there was "sufficient evidence" to charge Wright.

"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.

Heurged media outlets to be circumspect in their reporting of events in the case to protect the legal rights of the accused.

"Steven Wright stands accused of these offences and has a right to a fair trial before a jury," he said.

Wright has been described as a former forklift driver. Police seized a dark blue Ford Mondeo car from his property and forensic experts combed through his house on Thursday.

Police have released on bail a 37-year-old man who was arrested before Wright in connection with the killings.
A police convoy escorts the police van taking Steve Wright to Ipswich Magistrates' Court on Friday after he was charged in the murder of five prostitutes. ((Chris Radburn/PA/Associated Press))

The other man, arrested Monday, has not been charged. He is also from Ipswich. Police have not released his name nor indicated whether he continues to be a suspect.

News reports, however, identified him as Tom Stephens, a part-time taxi driver, supermarket worker and former volunteer police officer.

In an interview with the Sunday Mirror newspaper, Stephens was quoted as saying he knew all the victims and saw himself as their protector.

The naked bodies of the victims were found in rural areas around Ipswich over a period of about 10 days beginning Dec. 2.

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.

With files from the Associated Press