suffolk strangler

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The Suffolk Strangler

Steve Wright, often referred to as the “Suffolk Strangler”, was responsible for the murders of five women in Ipswich in 2006.

Wright was born in 1958 and was one of four children. His mother left when Wright was eight and his father, a military policeman, remarried. Wright was married and divorced twice and had two children, one with each of his former wives.

He became known for his addictive gambling habits, heavy drinking and his propensity for domestic violence, but in the mid-1990s and again in 2000, Wright attempted suicide, once by carbon monoxide poisoning in his car, and the second time by taking an overdose of pills.

In 2001 he was convicted of theft when he stole £100 to pay off the gambling debts. It is also known that Wright worked on a cruise ship at the same time as Suzy Lamplugh in the 1980s before the London estate agent simply disappeared after meeting a client at a house in Fulham. There has never been any evidence to link Wright to the disappearance and murder of 25-year-old Suzy.

In late 2006, five prostitutes were found dead at different locations over a six-week period. The women were discovered in the surrounding countryside, stripped naked and in two instances posed in a cruciform position. Despite their bodies being stripped naked by the killer, the women had not been sexually assaulted before their deaths.

Wright attempted to dispose of any evidence that would lead to his capture by ensuring his car and clothes were scrupulously cleaned after each attack. However, traces of Wright’s DNA were discovered on three of the victims’ bodies and microscopic fibres found on all five women were linked to his clothing, car and home.

The police sifted through 10,000 hours of CCTV footage of the red light district and surrounding area of Ipswich and, by using an automatic car registration plate reader, they were able to identify a Ford Mondeo in the area at the time at which each of the women disappeared.

On 19th December 2006, Suffolk Police arrested Steve Wright on suspicion of murder. The trial, which lasted for six weeks, resulted in a conviction for all five murders and a sentence of life imprisonment with a recommendation that he is never released from prison. 

Steven Gerald James Wright (born 24 April 1958) is an English serial killer, also known as the Suffolk Strangler and the Ipswich Ripper. He is currently serving life imprisonment for the murder of five women who worked as sex workers in Ipswich, Suffolk. The killings took place during the final months of 2006, and Wright was found guilty in February 2008.

Wright met Pamela Wright (the shared surname was coincidental) in 2001 in Felixstowe and they moved to the house in Ipswich together in 2004. Wright had always admitted that he used sex-workers and had done since he was in the Merchant Navy, and continually throughout his life. In Ipswich he admitted he went to certain massage and sauna establishments that were actually brothels. Throughout his trial he had stated that he had used professional sex-workers on many occasions, including three of the victims and when his partner began working night shifts and their sex life became almost non-existent, he returned to using professional sex-workers who were based on the nearby streets, procuring a dozen in the final three months of 2006.[5]

Between 30 October and 10 December 2006, Wright murdered five sex-workers in Ipswich. Forensic evidence led to his arrest on 19 December. At the time of the murders, Wright was working as a forklift truck driver. He was found guilty of all five murders on 21 February 2008. On the following day, he was sentenced to life imprisonment, and the judge recommended that he should never be released.

It was announced on 19 March 2008 that Wright was to appeal his convictions, but on 2 February 2009, it was announced that Wright had decided to drop this appeal case.

Prostitutes nicknamed him “Mondeo Man” and “Silver-Backed Gorilla”, because of his hair colour and stocky build, and some said he liked dressing up in tight women’s clothing, and wearing a black curly wig. Tiny flecks of blood were found on the back seats of Steve Wright’s Ford Mondeo, and partially matched the DNA profile of Paula Clennell

omnibus #truecrime list

after spending far too many hours of my life watching “cold cases” / “48 hours” / “wives with knives”, i have attempt to construct a close-to-exhaustive list of the best of the true crime genre. 

thank you to henry joost, dv devincentis, natalie guevara, irina aleksander, willie thurlow & isabel halley for their suggestions.

Books

  • Fatal Vision, Joe McGuinness (1983)
  • A Wilderness of Error, Errol Morris (2012)
  • Blind Faith, Joe McGuinness (1989)
  • The Stranger Beside Me, Anne Rule (1980)
  • Naked in the Window: The Fatal Marriage of Ana Mendieta and Carl Andre, Robert Katz (1990)
  • Blood and Money, Thomas Thompson (1976)
  • The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcolm (1990)
  • Iphigenia in Forest Hills: Anatomy of a Murder Trial, Janet Malcolm (2011)
  • The Executioner’s Song, Norman Mailer (1980)
  • Helter Skelter, Vincent Bugliosi (1974)
  • Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Murder, Robert Kolker (2013)
  • The Night Stalker, Philip Carlo (2006)
  • Homicide, David Simon (1991)
  • The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness and Murder, Charles Graeber (2013)
  • People Who Eat Darkness, Richard Lloyd Parry
  • Blind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of the BTK Murderer, Roy Wenzi (2008)
  • In Cold Blood, Truman Capote (1965)
  • Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three, Mara Leveritt (2002)
  • The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, Erik Larson (2004)
  • Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, Jon Krakauer (2003)
  • The Red Parts: A Memoir, Maggie Nelson (2007)
  • Jane: A Murder, Maggie Nelson (2005)
  • American Eve: Evelyn Nesbitt & Stanford White, and The Crime of the Century, Paula Uruburu (2009) 
  • Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper, Geoffrey Gray (2012)
  • Columbine, Dave Cullen (2009)

Documentaries

  • The Staircase or Soupçons, Jean Xavier de Lestrade (2004)
  • The Imposter, Bart Layton (2012)
  • Capturing The Friedmans, Andrew Jarecki (2003)
  • Errol Morris’ First Person specifically, S1 Ep. 5 “The Parrot” and S1 Ep. 8 “In The Kingdom of a Unabomber” (2000)
  • Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart, Jeremiah Zagar (2014)
  • Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996)
  • Into The Abyss, Werner Herzog (2013)
  • Cold Case Files: Obsession: Dave Reichart and the Green River Killer (2005)
  • The Cheshire Murders (2013)
  • Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father, Kurt Kuenne (2008)
  • Murder on a Sunday Morning, Jean Xavier de Lestrade (2004)
  • There’s Something Wrong With Aunt Diane (2011)
  • Crazy Love, Dan Klores (2007)
  • Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer, Nick Broomfield (2003)
  • Brother’s Keeper, Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky (1992)
  • The Central Park Five, Ken Burns (2013)
  • The Thin Blue Line, Errol Morris (1988)
  • Tabloid, Errol Morris (2011)
  • The Jinx, Andrew Jarecki (2015)
  • The Perverted World of Marc Dextrou (2005)
  • Killer in a Small Town: The Ipswich Murders (The Suffolk Strangler) (2009)
  • The Pig Farm [Canada’s most prolific serial killer Robert Pickton] (2011)

Fictionalized Film/TV Series for Lovers of True Crime:

  • True Detective (2014)
  • Red Riding Trilogy: In The Year of Our Lord 1983, 1980, 1974 (2009)
  • Twin Peaks (1990)
  • Silence of The Lambs (1991)
  • The Killing (2011)
  • Top of The Lake, Jane Campion (2013)
  • Fatal Vision (1984)
  • Zodiac, David Fincher (2007)
  • Reversal of Fortune (1990)
  • Se7en, David Fincher (1995)
  • Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, John McNaughton (1990)
  • The Fall (BBC Series - 2013+)
  • The X-Files (1993)