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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 January 2008, 12:25 GMT
Alleged killer's DNA 'on victims'
Steve Wright
Steve Wright denies murdering the five women
Forensic evidence linking a man with five women he is accused of murdering is "beyond coincidence", a jury heard.

Steve Wright, 49, of Ipswich, denies murdering the women, who all worked as prostitutes to fund drug habits.

The court was told the chance that the DNA found on three women was not the defendant's was "one in a billion".

Timothy Langdale QC, defending, said Mr Wright admitted having sex with four of the five women, but would challenge the significance of the DNA evidence.

But Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, said links between the defendant and the women's bodies painted a "compelling picture of his guilt".

Anneli Alderton, 24, Paula Clennell, 24, Annette Nicholls, 29, Tania Nicol, 19, and 25-year-old Gemma Adams went missing during six weeks in 2006.

The significant aspect of the DNA is that the defendant's DNA is common to each of the victims
Peter Wright QC, prosecuting

Jurors at Ipswich Crown Court were told a jacket recovered by police had blood stains most likely to have come from two of the women.

Mr Wright said there was evidence the defendant was wearing the reflective clothing when he disposed of two of the bodies.

All five bodies were found naked and dumped in remote areas between 2 and 12 December. Two of them were placed in a "crucifix pose", the court heard.

DNA matching the defendant was found on the bodies of Miss Alderton, Miss Clennell and Miss Nicholls.

Mr Wright said it was not surprising that no DNA was found on Miss Nicol or Miss Adams because their bodies had been immersed in water.

The victims, clockwise from top, Annette Nicholls, Anneli Alderton, Paula Clennell, Gemma Adams and Tania Nicol
The women were all found dead on the outskirts of Ipswich

DNA of at least one other person was found on Miss Alderton's body but the jury was told this was likely to be linked to her work as a prostitute.

Mr Wright said: "The significant aspect of the DNA is that the defendant's DNA is common to each of the victims."

The court was told the DNA would have been washed off the women after the contact had they been alive.

Two semen-stained gloves were also found in Mr Wright's car, with DNA samples that could have come from Miss Nicholls and Miss Alderton, the jury was told.

Forensic results showed it was possible Mr Wright was wearing the gloves when he was in contact with the two women, the court heard.

The prosecutor said it would be "highly unusual" for the defendant to wear the gloves if he was only engaging in consensual sexual activity.

'Murder campaign'

Forensic experts also found fibres linking the bodies of all five women to the suspect's car, sofa or clothes, the court heard.

Mr Wright told the jury the DNA and forensic findings did not point to an "unfortunate coincidence" but rather that the defendant was "engaged in an active campaign of murder".

"A campaign in which he had deliberately targeted working prostitutes in the Ipswich area as his victims and succeeded in murdering no fewer than five in a very short space of time," he added.

The trial, which is expected to last six weeks, continues.

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