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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 February 2008, 19:03 GMT
Wright guilty of Suffolk murders
Steve Wright
Steve Wright admitted having sex with four of the women
Steve Wright has been found guilty of murdering five women in Suffolk.

The bodies of Gemma Adams, Tania Nicol, Anneli Alderton, Paula Clennell and Annette Nicholls were found in Ipswich over a 10-day period in December 2006.

Wright, 49, of Ipswich, said during his trial that he had had sex with four of the five women, who were working as prostitutes, but denied killing them.

Ipswich Crown Court jurors unanimously found him guilty of all five murders and he will be sentenced on Friday.

'Crucifix pose'

The trial heard the bodies of Miss Alderton and Miss Nicholls were found arranged with their arms outstretched in a crucifix pose.

The prosecution said Wright "systematically selected and murdered" all five women over a six-and-a-half-week period.

The victims, clockwise from top, Annette Nicholls, Anneli Alderton, Paula Clennell, Gemma Adams and Tania Nicol

Suffolk police began an inquiry after Miss Nicol, 19, vanished in late October 2006.

Two weeks later, Miss Adams, 25, vanished and detectives began a "major inquiry", saying there were "obvious similarities".

This was followed by the disappearance of Miss Alderton, 24, Miss Clennell, 24, and 29-year-old Miss Nicholls.

Their bodies were eventually found in isolated locations around Ipswich.

In 2001, Wright worked as a barman at the Brook Hotel in Felixstowe before being sacked for stealing hundreds of pounds from the till, for which he was ordered to carry out 100 hours community service.

It was a DNA sample taken at the time of that conviction which led to police matching samples taken from the dead women.

He was put under surveillance by police before being arrested on 19 December and charged two days later.

I am very relieved and pleased for all of the families that this is now over and we can now start to get on with our lives
Brian Adams, Gemma's father

Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, said the decision by the women to turn to prostitution "was ultimately to prove fatal".

He called on the judge to impose a "whole life term".

Gemma Adams' father Brian said: "I am very relieved and pleased for all of the families that this is now over and we can now start to get on with our lives.

"I can't speak highly enough about the police in this case.

"I don't have any feelings about Wright."

'Daunting challenge'

Wright's brother Keith said after the verdict: "I'm surprised the verdict has been so quick.

"I would have thought there are enough things for them to have some doubt.

"Whatever the sentence, it's all over now."

Michael Crimp, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said from outside the court: "Steve Wright is the factor that links all five women.

"He was last person to see them alive and the scientific evidence proved that he was responsible for their deaths.

"One telling piece of evidence was a carpet fibre from the footwell of Steve Wright's car found in Tania Nicol's hair.

"This was despite her body being found in water.

Stewart Gull
These appalling crimes left a community, a county and a nation in a state of profound shock
Det Ch Supt Stewart Gull

"Her killer failed to destroy this significant piece of evidence."

He added that the victims' families had sat through harrowing evidence and he hoped they could take some comfort from the verdicts.

Det Ch Supt Stewart Gull, who led the investigation, said: "These appalling crimes left a community, a county and a nation in a state of profound shock.

"They left Suffolk constabulary facing its most daunting challenge in history."

Robert Sadd, Crown Advocate for the CPS in Suffolk, said Wright's motive for the killing may never be known.

'Depraved crime'

"Quite often in a murder case we do not know the motive or understand it if we do.

"The evidence leads us to who did it, and that's more important."

Scientific evidence was a crucial factor in the case and Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said it demonstrated the great strides made in DNA profiling.

He said: "This was an evil and depraved crime that caused immense suffering to the families and friends of the victims as well as bringing fear to the local community.

"All of those affected have my deepest sympathy."



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
CCTV footage of Wright being questioned by detectives



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