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Last Updated: Friday, 8 February 2008, 15:37 GMT
Accused 'victim of coincidences'
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
A man accused of killing five women in Suffolk has told jurors he had nothing to do with their deaths.

Steve Wright told Ipswich Crown Court he may have had sex with four of the women on the nights they vanished and possibly picked up the fifth woman.

But the 49-year-old said he was a "victim of coincidences" and "singularly unfortunate" to have been linked to the killings.

Mr Wright denies the murder of all five women, who worked as prostitutes.

Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, said: "It would seem that in terms of picking up prostitutes in Ipswich you have been singularly unfortunate."

'Put off' sex

Mr Wright replied: "It would seem so, yes".

He said he was not "any random psychopath" subjecting Ipswich prostitutes to "any campaign".

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

Mr Wright said it was "quite possible" he had picked up Miss Nicol on 30 October, 2006, the day she was last seen alive.

A CCTV camera in the Ipswich red light district captured footage of a woman approaching a dark car late in the evening.

Steve Wright
Steve Wright, 49, denies killing the five women

Mr Wright said it was possible that the footage showed the teenager walking towards his blue Ford Mondeo car.

However, he said he did not have sex with her because he was "put off" by her acne.

He said he recalled having sex in his car with Miss Adams either late on 14 November or early on 15 November.

Mr Wright and his partner Pam Wright moved into a flat in Ipswich's red light district on 1 October 2006.

He began picking up prostitutes in the area in the third week of October 2006, the court heard.

Defence barrister Timothy Langdale, QC, asked Mr Wright why he did not contact police when he realised they were looking for Miss Adams and Miss Nicol.

'Blood on jacket'

"Because, basically, Pam. I was trying to keep the secret from her," Mr Wright said.

Jurors heard that Mr Wright's car was twice captured by security camera technology on the night Miss Alderton disappeared - 3 December.

Mr Wright said he could not remember when he had picked up Miss Nicholls but it might have been on 8 December 2006, when she was last seen alive.

Her blood was found on a reflective jacket belonging to Mr Wright. He said he could not account for this, but he had not injured her during sex.

I just had, at the back of my mind, it wouldn't affect me because I wasn't responsible for the deaths.
Steve Wright

Blood from Miss Clennell, who he also admitted picking up around the time of her disappearance, was also found on the jacket.

Mr Wright could not explain how this had got there, but said she had told him that she had "bit her tongue" while laying down on a sofa in his home.

Cross-examining, prosecutor Mr Wright asked the defendant why the defendant continued to use the services of street prostitutes despite a police presence in Ipswich.

Mr Wright answered: "I just had, at the back of my mind, it wouldn't affect me because I wasn't responsible for the deaths."

The prosecutor said: "The fact is, there are a number of coincidences in this case, aren't there Mr Wright?

"The fact is you murdered each of these women."

Mr Wright replied: "No, I did not."

The trial was adjourned until Tuesday.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Cross-examination begins



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