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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 February 2008, 15:13 GMT
How Steve Wright's trial unfolded
Artist's impression of Steve Wright appearing at Ipswich Crown Court
Most of the evidence against Wright was circumstantial
The BBC's Ben Geoghegan, who was in court for the entire trial of Steve Wright, describes hearing the twists and turns of the biggest murder case Suffolk has ever seen.

Two boxes thumped down in front of us. Stacked inside were copies of a speech: Regina v Steve Gerald James Wright.

This was the prosecution's case against a man accused of multiple murder. The Crown's account of what happened to five women whose bodies were dumped in the Suffolk countryside.

It quickly became apparent that it lacked any single clinching piece of evidence. No-one saw the women being killed. A pathologist could not be sure how three of them had died. There was no murder weapon.

So, the case against Steve Wright had to be painted in subtle shades rather than primary colours.

Close to tears

Most of the evidence was circumstantial - CCTV footage of him cruising the red light district, his DNA found on some of the bodies along with fibres from his car and home, neighbours who heard "banging noises" late at night.

But that is not to say it was not detailed. Even the judge confessed to being lost as the court heard about a sample of "cellular" DNA on the inside of one finger of one glove found in Steve Wright's home.

The defence said the evidence could be explained away by the fact that their client had picked up the women in order to have sex. The jury had to decide, was he a killer or merely a kerb-crawler?

Ipswich Crown Court
The jury decided there were no coincidences

"No comment," was all Steve Wright said to the police after his arrest, but in the fourth week of the trial, he went into the witness box to end his silence about the five women.

His walk across the court took him directly in front of their families in the public gallery. This was the man accused of "squeezing the life" out of a daughter, a sister or niece.

His physical proximity in court was met with horror. A few people leaned away. Two women grasped each other. For a moment, it seemed as though someone would shout out or scream. Paula Clennell's sister Alice came close to tears.

Dressed in a dark suit and pale blue tie, he sat down - as he did when he was arrested - out of a fear that he would faint.

Campaign of murder

The prosecution accused him of tailoring his story to fit the forensic evidence.

He was confronted by things he claimed were just coincidences - the fact he had picked up all five women at around the time they disappeared, the fact that he did so in the same order they disappeared, the fact his partner Pam was out on each of the nights they went missing.

But the jury decided there were no coincidences. Steve Wright planned to systematically seek out and murder five women.

At some point, the man who had used prostitutes for most of his adult life decided that sex was not enough.

In the winter of 2006, he began his campaign of murder. The man described by the street workers of Ipswich as "quiet", decided to kill.



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Background to the case



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