Ipswich suspect 'became sloppy in murder spree'

Steve Wright, the man accused of murdering five women in Ipswich, was unable to explain yesterday how the blood of two of them ended up on his clothing.

Gemma Adams, 25; Tania Nicol, 19; Anneli Alderton 24; Paula Clennell, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29 – all drug addicts who worked as prostitutes in the red light district of the town – disappeared in late 2006. Over a 10-day period their naked bodies were found dumped in isolated spots around the Suffolk town. Mr Wright denies murdering them.

But the jury yesterday heard claims that he had become "sloppy" in his "campaign of murder", leaving vital clues that led detectives to him.

As he gave evidence for the third day before Ipswich Crown Court, the 49-year-old forklift truck driver was challenged by Peter Wright QC, for the prosecution, to explain why the blood of both Ms Nicholls and Ms Clennell was found on one of his coats.

"How did [Ms Nicholls'] blood get on the outside of the back of the right sleeve of your jacket?" asked the barrister, to which the defendant replied: "I couldn't say." The barrister continued: "How did [Ms Clennell's] blood get on the back of your left shoulder?" "I have no idea," answered Steve Wright.

Nor could he offer a reason why red fibres found on three of the women matched similar ones discovered in his Ford Mondeo and on his sofa. But he denied the prosecution's suggestion that they had come from a blanket used to transport the bodies to their final resting place.

Despite the fact that he was known to take pride in a clean car, seven blood flecks, apparently from Ms Clennell, were on the back seat while hairs from Ms Nicholls were also found in the vehicle. "Is it the position you had reached was this – so successful had you been at picking up these women and killing them that you were getting sloppy?" the barrister asked, to which Mr Wright replied: "No way. I had nothing to do with their deaths."

But the QC continued: "Is it the case that you set out to try and tailor your case to fit the forensic evidence in this case?" Mr Wright replied firmly: "No I have not."

The defendant has repeatedly insisted that he could not explain the "coincidence" of all the forensic evidence, simply asserting that – as a regular user of prostitutes – he had picked up all five women and slept with four of them.

Pointing out that the defendant had made no comment during more than eight hours of police interviews, the barrister suggested it was because he had no innocent explanation.

"As far as you were concerned, your account is an act of desperation on your part to try and explain away the connection between you and the murder of each of these women," he said, adding: "The sad truth is, Mr Wright, that you engaged in a campaign of murder for a period of six weeks. That's the truth isn't it... selecting women to have sex with and to kill?" Mr Wright replied: "No, I did not."

The trial continues.