Page last updated at 09:04 GMT, Monday, 14 January 2008

Timeline: Suffolk killings

On 2 November 2006, police in Suffolk launched a public appeal for help to find a missing prostitute.

By mid-December, the bodies of five women had been found in and around the Ipswich area.

Find out how events unfolded with this timeline.


First public appeal issued to media asking for help to find prostitute Tania Nicol who went missing after leaving her home in Ipswich, Suffolk, on 30 October.


Kerry Nicol, Tania's mother, and Det Ch Insp John Quinton give interviews. Leaflets handed out on the buses on route Tania may have taken.

15 NOVEMBER 2006

Police launch a further appeal for information on the whereabouts of a second missing prostitute in Ipswich.

Gemma Adams, 25, from Blenheim Road, is reported missing by her partner after she fails to return home from work.

19 NOVEMBER 2006

Copies of leaflets appealing for help to find the women are distributed to those attending Ipswich v Norwich football derby.

29 NOVEMBER 2006

Police release details of clothing similar to that worn by Gemma when she disappeared.


A member of the public finds a naked body in a brook at Hintlesham, Suffolk.


Detectives launch a major inquiry after the body is formally identified as being that of Gemma Adams.

Her death raises fears for the safety of Tania Nicol.

Both women disappeared from the same area and detectives say there are "obvious similarities" between the two cases.


Police formally launch a murder inquiry. Specialist teams start searching the area where the body was found.


A second naked body is found by police divers searching an area near Copdock Mill, near Ipswich.


Police confirm that the second body is that of Miss Nicol.

Her body was discovered in the same stretch of water as that of Miss Adams, say police, but around two miles away.

Det Supt Andy Henwood says there were "obvious similarities" between the two deaths.

10 DECEMBER 2006

Police announce that the body of a third prostitute has been found, raising further fears that a serial killer is targeting women in the area.

Officers are called to Nacton, near Ipswich, at 1520 GMT after a member of the public discovers the woman's body in woodland.

Police say the body is of a woman in her 20s.

Detectives say it is too early to say whether the third death is linked to the murders of Miss Adams and Miss Nicol.

11 DECEMBER 2006

Police say they are concerned for two other missing women.

Paula Clennell, aged 24, has not been seen since late on Saturday, and Annette Nicholls, aged 29, went missing on 4 December.

Assistant Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer warns prostitutes to "stay off the streets" for their own safety.

Police describe the discovery of the third body as a "deeply disturbing development" and say while they cannot make a formal link, "the facts speak for themselves".

12 DECEMBER 2006

Police discover two more bodies near the village of Levington, five miles south of Ipswich.

Det Ch Supt Stewart Gull says: "I have to fear the worst. Sadly I fear these may be the bodies of Paula Clennell and Annette Nicholls."

Police investigating the murders release the name of the third victim, Anneli Alderton, 24, and say she was strangled.

13 DECEMBER 2006

Police remove one of the bodies found in woodland in Levington on 12 December as a detailed scientific examination begins.

Detectives say the victims did not die at the scene.

The number of calls received from the public in one day peaks at 3,094.

It emerges that Paula Clennell had given an interview to ITV News on 5 December, in which she says that despite the dangers she was prepared to go back onto the streets.

14 DECEMBER 2006

Annette Nicholls' body is moved from woodland in Levington.

Police examine items of clothing handed in by members of the public and say that the number of calls received has gone up to 5,500, with 1,000 e-mails received.

The body of a fourth woman found at Levington is confirmed as being that of missing prostitute Paula Clennell. She died as a result of "compression to the neck".

15 DECEMBER 2006

Detectives confirm that the fifth body is that of Annette Nicholls.

A post-mortem examination fails to find a clear cause of death.

A candlelit service is held to comfort the friends of the murdered prostitutes in a church close to where the bodies of two of them were found.

The Rev Chris Wingfield takes the service at St Peter's Church, Copdock.

16 DECEMBER 2006

CCTV footage of Ms Alderton on a train shortly before she disappeared is released.

A minute's silence is held at Ipswich Town's Portman Road stadium ahead of their match against Leeds United. The ground is close to Ipswich's red light district where the women worked.

17 DECEMBER 2006

Police talk to passengers at railway stations used by Anneli Alderton a week before her body was found.

19 DECEMBER 2006

A 48-year-old man from Ipswich is arrested by detectives at his home at about 0500 GMT on suspicion of murdering all five women.

20 DECEMBER 2006

Inquests into the deaths of four women are opened and adjourned at Ipswich Coroner's Court.

21 DECEMBER 2006

Steve Wright, from Ipswich, is charged with the murders of Gemma Adams, Tania Nicol, Anneli Alderton, Paula Clennell and Annette Nicholls.

22 DECEMBER 2006

Steve Wright appears before Ipswich magistrates for the first time charged with the murders. He is remanded in custody.


The funeral of Annette Nicholls is held in Ipswich.

Her body is carried to the service in a hearse which carries a wreath spelling out "friend".


The funeral of Paula Clennell is held at a ceremony in her home town of Berwick, Northumberland.

She is carried into the chapel at Tweedmouth Cemetery in a white coffin with a cross made of flowers.

A piper plays as the coffin is carried into the chapel for the 35-minute service led by Methodist minister Helen Hoe.

12 FEBRUARY 2007

The funeral of Tania Nicol is held at St Peter's Church, Stoke Park, Ipswich.

Her family asks that it be a private occasion.

15 FEBRUARY 2007

The funeral of Gemma Adams is held at St Andrew's Church, Rushmere St Andrew.

A charity fund is started in her name to raise funds for a children's hospice in Ipswich.

23 FEBRUARY 2007

The funeral of Anneli Alderton is held in Ipswich.

Dozens of mourners attend the service at a crematorium.

21 MARCH 2007

Steve Wright enters a not guilty plea to the charges.

He appears before Ipswich Crown Court to formally enter his pleas.

14 JANUARY 2008

Trial begins.

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