World

Man charged in killings of Ipswich prostitutes

British police charged a 48-year-old man with murder Thursday in the killings of five prostitutes in eastern England.

British police charged a 48-year-old man with murder Thursday in the killings of five prostitutes in eastern England.

Police identified the man as Steve Wright, whowas arrested Tuesday in Ipswich,a town northeast of London where all of the victims had worked.

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.

The BBC and other news media reported earlier Wright had worked as a forklift driver and lived in the area since September.

Investigatorsreleased a 37-year-old manwho wasidentified in news reports as Tom Stephens. He had been arrested at his home Monday in Trimley St. Martin, 13 kilometres southeast of Ipswich.

Stephens was quoted in an interview with the Sunday Mirror newspaper as saying he knew all the victims and regarded himself as their protector, but denied he had killed them.

The naked bodies of the victims, who had been working as prostitutes, were found in rural areas around Ipswich over a period of about 10 days beginning Dec. 2.

Massive media coverage

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 case is generating massive media coverage in a country known for tabloid-fuelled frenzies.Some newspapers have printed photographs of Wright and Stephens.

British law bans the media from publishing or broadcasting, including on the internet, any comments or information that might seriously prejudice active legal proceedings, in particular criminal proceedings heard before juries.

Suffolk police have expressed concern, Britain's Attorney General Lord Goldsmith said,adding that he was prepared to review coverage "if and when appropriate."

With files from the Associated Press