Man charged with five prostitute murders

The hunt for the killer of five Suffolk prostitutes took a dramatic turn tonight as police charged a man with all of the murders.Norfolk-born Stephen Wright will appear before Ipswich Magistrates tomorrow morning to face allegations that he killed the women, whose bodies were found on the outskirts of the town between December 2 and 12.

The hunt for the killer of five Suffolk prostitutes took a dramatic turn tonight as police charged a man with all of the murders.

Norfolk-born Stephen Wright will appear before Ipswich Magistrates tomorrow morning to face allegations that he killed the women, whose bodies were found on the outskirts of the town between December 2 and 12.

But a 37-year-old man - believed to be former Norfolk schoolboy and special constable Tom Stephens - who has been questioned for almost four days in connection with the killings was this evening released on police bail without charge.

Wright, 48, from London Road, Ipswich, was first arrested by murder squad officers in the early hours of Tuesday.

The father of three was born in West Beckham in north Norfolk, the son of an RAF corporal. He also once ran the Ferry Boat Inn in Norwich's King Street.

He worked as a forklift truck driver until a few months ago, and in recent weeks is thought to have been working in a metal factory.

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The decision to charge Wright and release the 37-year-old came as the 96-hour deadline for questioning suspects loomed closer.

In recent days, as the two men were questioned, detectives and forensic teams combed CCTV footage, mobile phone records linking the men and further forensic evidence.

Speaking at a hastily-convened press conference at Suffolk's Martlesham police headquarters, the county's senior prosecutor Michael Crimp said: “We will continue to keep this case under constant review as it develops.”

Last night's charges are the latest twist in a series of extraordinary events in what has become one of Britain's biggest murder hunts.

All five women were found dead near villages south of Ipswich during a 10-day period earlier this month.

Gemma Adams, 25, was found in Belstead Brook at Hintlesham on December 2, Tania Nicol was discovered in the same stream at Copdock on December 8, Anneli Alderton, 24, was found in woods at Nacton on December 10, and Paula Clennell, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29, were found naked in woods at Levington on December 12.

All five worked as prostitutes in Ipswich. Police said they were all found naked although they had not been sexually assaulted. Miss Alderton was strangled and Miss Clennell died as a result of “compression” to the neck.

Police have not said how Miss Adams, Miss Nicol and Miss Nicholls died.