Wright's passion for cleanliness hid sinister secret

When the residents of London Road, Ipswich, noticed their new neighbour's penchant for cleaning his Ford Mondeo, they thought nothing of it.

His fastidious cleanliness fitted in with the image of a quiet, unassuming, middle-aged man. His only indulgence appeared to be a regular game of golf and the odd pint. They had no idea Steve Wright's habits had a far more sinister motive, that he was attempting to wipe out the evidence of his nights of murder.

Certainly, when Wright moved to the flat in the Edwardian terrace, he gave little clue of his turbulent past and problems with depression, debt and gambling. Only the local prostitutes knew he lived a double life, for when his partner, Pamela, worked night shifts Wright paid for sex.

Wright, whose father, Conrad, was an RAF regiment corporal, was born on 24 April 1958 in West Beckham, Norfolk, and grew up with his older brother, David, and younger sisters Tina and Jeanette, at bases in Singapore and Malta. After his parents separated and his mother, Patricia, went to America, his father remarried when Wright was 10, moved to Felixstowe and had two more children, Keith and Natalie. Wright left school with no qualifications and joined the Merchant Navy. At 19, Wright married Angela, who was 17. They had a son but the marriage lasted just four years. In his mid-twenties, he was a steward on the QE2 , and began visiting massage parlours for sex.

During his six years on the liner, he met his second wife, Diane Cole. They married in 1987, moved to Essex and he worked in a pub in Norwich. She said the marriage was "a total disaster"; it lasted less than a year. By 1989, now a pub manager in Chislehurst, Wright met Sarah Whiteley, a barmaid and they moved to run a bar in Plumstead. In 1992, his second child, a daughter, was born but, Ms Whiteley told a newspaper, their relationship was doomed. Wright was sacked for drinking and gambling, they separated and he sent her a note, claiming that he had lost everything and planned to kill himself.

By the mid-1990s, he was a labourer in Felixstowe, Suffolk, near the home of his father and stepmother. He also lived in Thailand for a while. His half-brother, Keith, said this was when he sank to his lowest and depression took hold. "I think everything got to him," said Keith. "He got with some girl who ended up scamming him for everything he had. He got himself into a lot of debt, I suppose he couldn't find a way out. Everything got to him."

With debts of up to £30,000, his stepmother, Valerie, said, he was declared bankrupt. Then eight years ago, back in Felixstowe, he met Pamela, also called Wright, at a bingo hall. But in 2002, as a hotel barman, he was convicted of stealing £84 from the till. It was a minor offence but it was his undoing, because police had a sample of his DNA.

In 2004, the couple moved to Ipswich and he took a day job as a forklift truck driver and she began night work at a call centre. Two years later, Wright celebrated his 48th birthday at Uncle Tom's Cabin, a pub where he was known as a shy, quiet regular. "Steve would never say much. You never knew what he was thinking," said another regular, Billy Austin. "If you asked 50 people around here before last December if they knew Steve Wright, no one would've said yes. Now everybody knows his name."

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
tv
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments