Ex-police officer links Jeanette Kempton cold case to Steve Wright

PUBLISHED: 12:18 08 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:33 08 March 2019

Steve Wright has been linked to the Jeanette Kempton case by a former police officer. Photo: Archant Library

Steve Wright has been linked to the Jeanette Kempton case by a former police officer. Photo: Archant Library


Suffolk serial killer Steve Wright has been linked to the murder of another woman in the county by a former police officer.

Jeanette KemptonJeanette Kempton

Wright, now 60, was jailed for life in 2008 for the murder of five prostitutes in Ipswich in late 2006.

They were strangled and their bodies dumped.

But since his prosecution, cold case detectives have explored his links to other unsolved murders of women in similar circumstances.

Now former Norfolk police intelligence officer Chris Clark, who investigates cold cases, has linked Wright to the murder of a young mum called Jeanette Kempton 30 years ago.

Jeanette Kempton, from Brixton, went missing on February 2 1989. Her body was found 16 days later near Wangford, Suffolk. Photo: Archant LibraryJeanette Kempton, from Brixton, went missing on February 2 1989. Her body was found 16 days later near Wangford, Suffolk. Photo: Archant Library

Jeanette, 31, was found dumped in a field near Wangford, north Suffolk, on February 18 1989. She had last been seen 16 days earlier leaving a pub near her home in Brixton, south London and had no links to Suffolk, suggesting the killer did.

The case is currently being explored in our podcast called Unfinished.

Mr Clark, who researched Wright by speaking to one of his ex-wives, tells the podcast his theory is based on four points:

•The South London link

Wright, who used to run the Ferry Boat Inn in Norwich, was living in Chislehurst, south London, and working in a pub there when Jeanette disappeared.

Brixton is about 10 miles from Chislehurst and Mr Clark said his research had shown Wright ranged far and wide by himself at night.

He said: “Wright disappeared in all of his relationships very frequently. No one knew where he was in the evening.”

•The Suffolk link

As well as a south London link, police also believe the killer knew Suffolk for them to dump Jeanette’s body in a remote spot off the A12.

Wright used to live in Suffolk and knew the area around the A12 well from drives to Norwich where he also used to live.

“He had very good local knowledge,” Mr Clark said. “He was a regular native to Suffolk.

“The timeline and the geographical profile - that is where Suffolk police should be looking.”

One of the biggest leads in the case was the sighting of a hire van with a London phone number on it, spotted three days after Jeanette disappeared near to where her body was dumped. Despite extensive enquiries police have never found who was driving the van.

•Similarities with other murders

Wright also killed his victims in similar circumstances to Jeanette, strangling them and dumping the bodies in isolated spots.

He preyed on vulnerable women and killed them while they were incapacitated by heavy doses of drugs.

There was also violence prior to Jeanette’s death. She suffered a severe head wound about 48 hours before being strangled to death.

“It is indicative of Wright’s offending,” Mr Clark said.

•Vicky Hall

Finally there is also a similarity to the murder of another woman ten years after Jeanette in a village where Wright lived.

Teenager Vicky Hall disappeared in the early hours of September 19 1999 in Trimley St Mary, Suffolk, while walking home after a night out.

Again her body was dumped in a ditch in field, this time near Stowmarket.

Wright who lived in Trimley did come up in the police investigation.

A retired detective, who worked on the case, said in 2009 that Wright was linked to the case through a car.

He said: “One of the early lines was trying to trace a vehicle that followed a young woman the night before Victoria went missing.”

A partial registration was given to police. All the vehicles in the area which contained the partial registration were located through the police national computer. Wright’s was one of them, but he was never questioned.

The retired detective said: “There was no evidence to suggest we should have followed it up.”

But Mr Clark is convinced Wright had killed before the murders in Ipswich in 2006.

•What the police say

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “Since his conviction, there have understandably been a number of reports speculating as to Steve Wright’s potential involvement in other unsolved homicide and missing person cases, particularly those which have occurred within Suffolk and Norfolk.

“The Norfolk and Suffolk Joint Major Investigation Team have carried out extensive enquiries into Steve Wright’s activities prior to the offences for which he has was imprisoned.

“He has been a consideration in several unsolved case reviews across both counties and we remain open to any credible new information provided in this regard.”

Listen to the latest episode in our podcast above, or find previous episodes on iTunes.

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