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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 February 2008, 18:47 GMT
Victim 'could have been in car'
Steve Wright
Steve Wright, 49, denies killing the five women

A man accused of killing five women has said one of the victims may have been in his car on the night she vanished.

Steve Wright said CCTV footage showing a woman approaching a dark car on 30 October 2006 was "quite possibly" Tania Nicol approaching his Ford Mondeo.

The 49-year-old said he picked up the teenager but decided against sex because he was "put off" by her acne.

Mr Wright, who is on trial at Ipswich Crown Court, denies the murder of five women, who all worked as prostitutes.

The naked bodies of Miss Nicol, 19, and Paula Clennell, 24, Anneli Alderton, 24, Gemma Adams, 25, and Annette Nicholls, 29, were all found in the Ipswich area in December 2006.

Red light home

Mr Wright, who began giving evidence in his trial on Thursday, told the court Miss Nicol got out of his car after he decided against sex and he went home.

He said: "As she got in the car I noticed she had acne on her face. Basically, that's what put me off quite a bit, really."

He said he did not have "anything to do" with her disappearance.

I didn't feel good about myself, obviously... it's a situation I got myself in
Steve Wright

The court heard earlier that Mr Wright and his partner Pam, whose maiden name is also Wright, moved into a flat in the red light district of Ipswich on 1 October, 2006.

He said Ms Wright did not know that he went to prostitutes and he had not felt good about deceiving his partner.

"If she found out, she would probably have left me," he said.

"I didn't feel good about myself, obviously. It's a situation I got myself in."

Mr Wright told the court that when the couple first got together it had been "pretty good".

But he said their sex life had deteriorated and that when in 2006 Ms Wright began working night shifts at a call centre it was "pretty much non-existent".

Secluded locations

The court heard how he used to pick up prostitutes after he had taken Ms Wright to work.

"Sometimes I would go home first," Mr Wright, who told jurors he would normally be wearing tracksuit bottoms, a T-shirt, a fleece and trainers at the time, said.

The victims, clockwise from top, Annette Nicholls, Anneli Alderton, Paula Clennell, Gemma Adams and Tania Nicol
The five women were found dead around Ipswich in December 2006

"Sometimes I would just drive around the red light area to see who was about."

He said the prostitutes would suggest a place to go and he would drive them to isolated parts of Ipswich which would be "any secluded spot or on an industrial estate - anywhere that's out of eyesight, I suppose".

Mr Wright told the court he had first used prostitutes while serving in the Merchant Navy about 25 years ago.

"Because it was a young crew on the QE2, it was quite normal really," he said.

He was also asked if he used prostitutes when he went on a trip to Thailand to which he said yes.

Earlier the defendant also told the court details about his background and how he came to be in Ipswich.

Financial difficulties

He had been born in Norfolk and after his parents divorced he was brought up by a mixture of his father, mother and grandparents.

Mr Wright, whose father was an RAF policeman, said he left school at 16 with no qualifications and began working in a hotel in Suffolk before joining the Merchant Navy when he was 17.

He worked on the QE2 for about six years and during this time he met his first wife.

The trial was adjourned until Friday.

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