Court told of DNA link in Ipswich murders

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Blood from two of the five prostitutes killed over a six-week period in late 2006 was found on a jacket owned by the forklift truck driver accused of their murder, Ipswich Crown Court was told yesterday.

The jury was told that a host of DNA evidence linked the 49-year-old Steve Wright to the deaths of the women, who were all suffocated or strangled and dumped naked in remote spots around Ipswich.

Peter Wright QC, for the prosecution, said the defendant's neighbours reported having heard strange noises as his washing machine was turned on or he cleaned his car at night. But, the court was told, he had failed to wipe away all trace of the vulnerable drug addicts he had targeted in the town's red-light district. The QC said: "As to what drives a man to embark upon a campaign such as this we may never know but we submit that one thing you can be certain of from the evidence in this case is that in late October 2006 something caused Steve Gerald James Wright to engage in such a campaign and that he is guilty of the murder of each of these women."

Timothy Langdale, QC for the defence, said the DNA proved merely that Mr Wright was a regular user of the local prostitutes. He has admitted having sex with four of the victims and picking up the fifth before changing his mind.

Mr Wright denies murdering Tania Nicol, 19, Gemma Adams, 25, Anneli Alderton, 24, Annette Nicholls, 29, and Paula Clennell, 24.

DNA matching the defendant was found on the last three victims alongside fibres from his clothing, the court was told. In several cases, the chances of it being anyone else's DNA were one in a billion. And even the badly decomposed bodies of the first two women, found after weeks in a stream, had fibres from Mr Wright's clothes on them.

That this had survived the elements indicated it was what was left of far more substantial transfers on their skin shortly before death, the barrister said. Traces of three of the women's blood or bodily fluids were found with Mr Wright's semen stains on his clothing, he said.

The prosecution case is that over six weeks, after dropping his partner off for her night shift, the defendant cruised the red light district searching for victims who knew him andwould not suspect him even when the first bodies started appearing.

Acting alone or with an accomplice, the prosecutor said Mr Wright had killed them by "smothering, manual compression to the neck or a combination of both", then drove them out of town and dumped the bodies, two posed in the shape of a crucifix.

Despite regularly cleaning his car, he had not been sufficiently thorough, the prosecutor said. "He may have been careful but he was not careful enough; the fibres linking the defendant with the bodies of each of these five women speaks volumes as to his involvement in their disappearance, their murders and the disposal of their bodies."

Ms Clennell's blood and DNA was found on Mr Wright's jacket and gloves. Her breasts and thighs had traces of his DNA. Blood from Ms Nicholls was also found on the jacket and her body bore his DNA. Ms Alderton's thighs and a breast also showed signs of Mr Wright's DNA. All five women had fibres matching his clothing on their bodies.

The trial continues.