Moves to shift murders' trial

Lawyers acting for murder accused Steve Wright are preparing to go back before a High Court judge to urge for his trial to be shifted away from East Anglia.

Lawyers acting for murder-accused Steve Wright are preparing to go back before a High Court judge to urge for his trial to be moved from East Anglia.

The legal team for the man charged with Ipswich's red-light killings has applied for a second time to change the court's mind about the trial being held in Ipswich.

Next Friday, at 2pm, a hearing will be held at the Old Bailey in London before High Court Judge Mr Justice Gross to discuss the application to move the trial and to consider administrative matters linked to the scheduling of the case.

Wright, 49, of London Road, Ipswich, has been ordered to stand trial for the killing of Ipswich sex workers Tania Nicol, 19, Annette Nicholls, 29, Gemma Adams, 25, Paula Clennell, 24, and Anneli Alderton, 24, at Ipswich Crown Court on January 14. The trial is expected to last between six and eight weeks.

The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed that Mr Justice Gross would consider the application to move the trial at next week's hearing.

A CPS spokesman said: "It's a two-fold hearing. The first part will be to discuss the defence application to move the trial."

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She said the remainder of the hearing would deal with administrative requirements.

"The administrative (side) will obviously be affected by the outcome of the application," she added.

Wright last appeared before the Old Bailey on July 6 for a 25-minute hearing, during which Mr Justice Gross confirmed he would be the trial judge when Wright faces a jury in January. An earlier hearing had been conducted by Mr Justice Calvert-Smith.

All five women Wright stands accused of murdering had worked as prostitutes in the red-light district of Ipswich.

Their bodies were found in rural locations on the outskirts of the town during a ten-day period in December last year.

When he appeared before Ipswich Crown Court on May 1, Wright pleaded not guilty to murdering the women.

At that hearing, his defence team applied to have the trial held outside Ipswich, but Mr Justice Calvert-Smith ruled it should be held in the town with Suffolk people sitting on the jury.

Next week's hearing will be the second time Wright, who is being held at London's top security Belmarsh prison, has appeared in court outside Ipswich.

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