“Drugs and prostitution meant they were at risk. But neither drugs nor prostitution killed them. You did.”
Mr Justice Gross
BBC news Online
The date is 14 January 2008. The place is Ipswich Crown Court. It had been two years since the murders. The weight of expectation at the trial could not be underestimated.
As the case unfolds, it becomes apparent that there is no single piece of overwhelming evidence. Prosecutor Peter Wright QC leads the court through the series of coincidences that taken all together lead them to only one logical conclusion: Wright is the killer.
The court is shown CCTV footage of Wright cruising the red light district, his DNA found on some of the bodies along with fibres from his car and home, neighbours who heard "banging noises" late at night.
At trial, Wright goes into the witness box and ends his silence about the five women. He argues that he had had sex with the women but had not killed them, saying it was merely coincidental that forensic evidence linked him to all five.
The trial lasts for six weeks. The court hears testimony and evidence from police, forensic experts and the dead women’s relatives. The jurors make visits to key locations: Wright’s Ipswich home and the places where the women’s bodies were found.
For the victims’ families, the court case holds challenges; Wright’s physical proximity in court was met with horror. A few people leaned away. Two women grasped each other. For a moment, it seemed as though someone would shout out or scream. Paula Clennelll's sister Alice came close to tears.
On 21 February 2008, after eight hours of deliberation, the jury of nine men and three women returns a unanimous guilty verdict against Steve Wright on all five counts of murder. The judge Mr Justice Gross, recommends Steve Wright never be released from prison.
With Wright facing life behind bars, the issue of motive remains. In the words of the prosecutor: "As to what drives a man to embark upon a campaign such as this we may never know.”.