Kevin Cotterell The Algebra of Justice


On the 21st February 2008, at Ipswich Crown Court, 49 year-old fork-lift truck driver Steven Wright was found guilty of the most preposterous series of murders in the history of crime. The murders occurred in the weeks leading to Christmas 2006, and the victims were five prostitutes who worked the red light district in Ipswich. The first two disappeared at fortnightly intervals and were found weeks later in a nearby river, in circumstances designed to eliminate the risk of forensic and DNA evidence. The last three were all killed in a single week, and the bodies were laid out on dry land for a quick discovery, plastered in DNA and forensic evidence that implicated the hapless defendent Steven Wright. He pleaded Not Guilty and still does.

Wright's explanation at his trial for the DNA evidence and fibres etc from his house and car being on three of the bodies was that he was a customer of these women, and so his defence of Not Guilty looked as absurd as the murders.

This was the first ever serial-cascade murder series, and there is something very strange about every aspect of the case. In fact, the evidence produces a preposterous murder series and a preposterous defence by Steven Wright in response to it, but the logic of the facts surely reveals that no aspect of the case seems to make sense of the evidence.

Modus operandi (1)

In the matter of body disposal, there is a distinct switch in the modus operandi of this series between the first two murders and the last three. There is a switch between the timings of the first three murders, at just over two weeks between each, and the last three, at just about three days between each murder. The last three victims were murdered inside a week. And there is a distinct switch in the matter of evidence provision for trial too, because the first two bodies were dumped in running water with no chance of evidence, while the last three were left out in the open, and posed, with (according to the prosecution case) lots of fresh evidence to prosecute Steven Wright with. And there is another corresponding switch between the two sets of murders, with the bodies of the first two being dumped to the east of Ipswich, and the bodies of the last three being dumped to the west of Ipswich.

The victims disappeared in this order:

1st victim - October 31st, Tania Nicol - (the police announced her disappearance a week later, on November 7th)

2nd victim - November 15th (just over two weeks later), Gemma Adams

3rd victim - December 3rd (just over two weeks later again), Anneli Alderton - (she was not reported missing, and was last seen boarding a train to Ipswich on the 3rd)

4th victim - December 8th (just five days after the third victim was last seen), Annette Nicholls

5th victim - December 10th (just two days later), Paula Clennell - (she was the one who predicted her early death in a TV interview during the investigations).

The bodies were found in the following order:

1st - December 2nd, Gemma Adams (the second victim, found just over two weeks after her disappearance)

2nd - December 8th, Tania Nicol (the first victim, found five weeks after her disappearance)

3rd - December 10th, Anneli Alderton (the third victim, found a week after she was last seen alive)

4th & 5th - December 12th, Paula Clennell & Annette Nicholls (the fifth and fourth victims, found two and four days after their disappearance).

The first two victims were dumped in a small river to the east of Ipswich, so that by the time they were discovered, there would be little chance of finding any forensic evidence on the bodies. Both bodies were naked.

But the last three victims were dumped on dry ground, in woods, across to the west of Ipswich, by Nacton. These were naked also (this and the probable manner of death being the only common feature).

The bodies were found as follows:

1 - Tania Nicol - the body was found in Belstead Brook at Clopdock Mill, near Ipswich. It had been in the water for five weeks. The lungs showed hyper-inflation, suggesting asphyxiation. Her jewels and clothing were never found and she was naked. This is consistent with most of the victims, and her effects might be kept as trophies by the killer. A bruise on the back of her knee indicated that she may have been restrained from behind. - Her body was left immersed in running water.

2 - Gemma Adams - the body was also found in Belstead Brook. - Also left immersed in running water.

3 - Anneli Alderton - the body was found in woodland at Nacton, seen by a passing motorist. It had previously been seen by another motorist who thought it was a mannequin. The body was left in crucifix form, arms outstretched, posed in the open air.

4 - Annette Nicholls - the body was found a few hundred yards from that of Paula Clennell in woodlands near Nacton. Discovered by police helicopter. The body was posed in a crucifix form, arms outstretched, with her hair posed straight up from her head. Her breathing had been hampered.

5 - Paula Clennell - the body was found a few hundred yards away from that of Annette Nicholls. Like the others she was naked but her jewelry had not been taken. The body had been hurriedly dumped.

Clennell's body was dumped hurriedly beside a busy road, so that it would be quickly discovered, and this ensured that when the police helecopter came out to oversee the crime scene, the fourth victim's body would be found quickly too. It was with this circumstance that the series of murders ended and the prosecution against Steven Wright began.

The suspects (1)

This series of murders is very odd-looking, and so is the arrest of Steven Wright. He was arrested at his home at the aggressive hour of five in the morning on December 19th 2006 and taken in for questioning. The police told the press that the basis of the arrest was CCTV footage which they thought showed Wright's car picking up the first victim. This CCTV footage was presented at the trial, and it is alleged to show Tania Nicol being picked up by Wright's Ford Mondeo, but the CCTV footage was taken at night, and the car might not have been a Ford Mondeo, and if it was, it might not have been the killer's car, or Steven Wright's, and the girl getting into it may not have been Tania Nicol either.

And the fifth murder victim, Paula Clennell, reported to the police that she had seen Tania Nicol some two hours after this, talking to a man in a silver car in the red-light district. Clennell therefore died as a material witness in the case. Another witness also saw Nicol talking to two men in a "posh" car after the CCTV sighting.

The police already knew of Steven Wright, because during their inquiries with the public in the red light district of Ipswich, they had stopped his car there on two occasions. The first was on November 20th when he was with his partner Pam in the car. He told the police, who were inquiring about the disappearance of Tania Nicol, that he didn't have any useful information. The second occasion was on December 1st, at 1:50 in the morning, when he told the police that he couldn't sleep and didn't know that this was a red light district. He had only just moved into his flat, which was in the vicinity of this district. Since Wright was with his partner on the first occasion, that incident was entirely innocent, and in itself, there was no reason to suppose that the second was not. And if he had been a customer of these women, as his defence claimed at the trial, this didn't make him a murder suspect.

It didn't constitute grounds for an arrest either, unless it was for lying to the police.

Steven Wright was arrested on Tuesday (19th December), and the day before this, another man was arrested in connection with the murders. This first suspect was Tom Stephens, who was taken into custody on Monday 18th because he had featured in a newspaper interview that weekend, in which he claimed to have known all the victims personally. Tom Stephens was arrested first, and it was not until the following Thursday, when the police had either to release him or else to charge him, that they released him (Thursday 21st December). And it wasn't until this point that the police charged their second suspect, Steven Wright, with the murders.

In his interview in the Sunday Mirror, which was printed the day before his arrest, Tom Stephens reported that he had been questioned by police under caution and house-searched (though anyone could tell from his interviews that he was not the man they were looking for). He stated that the police had about fifty suspects (most of whom would be customers of the girls), and that the five girls who were murdered were the best looking of the prostitutes in Ipswich. He said that the place where the first two bodies were found were places that the two girls took clients to.

At the end of this interview, in reply to a question about his own risk of being charged, Stephens had said that it often happens that one man will be arrested one day, and another arrested and charged the next, and this is exactly what happened the next day with Steven Wright. Literally.

So both of the arrested men were customers of the women, and both of the arrests correspond with this newspaper article, and the difference between the two suspects is that the one that was charged was the one who had lied to the police during earlier inquiries.

The police told the press, "This is a significant arrest and the team is feeling quite bouyant." They said that they were no longer appealing for information in relation to the murders and that the arrest was a major breakthrough in the case. The police told the press that the arrest had not come through a trawl of the women's clients, but this is unlikely in view of Steven Wright's defence (more anon).

The prosecution case at his trial was that the real reason for Steven Wright's arrest was a DNA match between a sample taken from him in 2001 after a conviction for petty theft, and DNA found on the three cascade murder victims. But this doesn't accord with the arrest of Tom Stephens the day before Wright's arrest, or with the holding of Stephens for the full legal limit, or with the holding of Wright for over two days before charging him. However the other scenario for why he was charged does.

A killer's DNA evidence

This series of murders began as a serial killer case and it ended quickly with an apparent design and purpose. It began with a killer who took the trouble of carrying the bodies to a river and dumping them there, leaving no hope of finding any of his DNA on the bodies, and it concluded (with a flourish) with the killer murdering three victims within a week and leaving the bodies exposed on dry land, with the last one hurriedly left displayed beside a busy road where the traffic could spot it easily, thereby maximising the chances of DNA or forensic evidence being recovered by the police if he had left any there to find.

The first two murders indicate that the killer knew about DNA and forensic evidence and that he was concerned not to leave any behind, and the three cascade murders indicate either that the killer did not, or else that he did but that he wished to create a crime scene that would maximize the opportunity for DNA or forensic identification and minimize the risk of a failure to detect and prosecute. In fact he appears to be working for the prosecution.

If Steven Wright had had DNA samples taken during his conviction for petty theft in 2001, he would have known the significance of this when the first two women were murdered, and he would have known it when the last three were murdered. The DNA evidence therefore is not consistent with his being the killer, it is only consistent with his being the defendant.

The real killer's DNA would be on the first two victims, while the defendant's DNA is on the last three.

Before the arrests

Another odd aspect of these two arrests is that the Crown Prosecution Service were brought into the investigation prior to any arrests, the justification given for this being to minimize the risk of arresting the wrong person (something that has not concerned the police before in such difficult cases) and to maximize the chances of arresting the right person.

The arrest of Tom Stephens contradicts this. And if the Crown Prosecution Service was involved in the investigation before the arrests, then the arrests must have arisen from a collective prosecution enterprise rather than from an investigation of the facts by the police beforehand.

The CPS cites the finding of a single carpet fibre in the hair of a victim that had been immersed in running water for weeks to justify their involvement in the investigation, but this evidence, which came from Wright's car, would not have been found before his arrest, and it is not likely to have become material evidence until after he was charged.

If, as the police and CPS claim, Wright was singled out as a suspect because of his DNA being found on three of the murder victims, then why would the police have needed the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure that they arrested the right person? And why did the police hold both Tom Stephens and Steven Wright in custody for the full allowable period before charging Wright?

The DNA evidence and the involvement of the CPS resembles the Ipswich railway station media circus the night before the arrests of these two car drivers began.

There is a strong whiff of pretentiousness to all this, and the opposite of such a pretence would be to ensure the arrest of an innocent person and avoid the risk of arresting the right person, with the CPS being consulted for this.

Matching patterns

Not only is this series of murders very peculiar, but so is the arresting and charging of these suspects. In fact there are further interesting correlations between the series of murders and the arrests, because the series of murders appears to be two different sets of murders, by implication with different killer profiles or motives, and there are two suspects, one of whom was arrested without any justification at the time (which contradicts the CPS's claim that they were engaged to minimize the risk of arresting the wrong person), and the other arrested without any justification except for the alleged DNA evidence, and one of these suspects was arrested because he had featured in a media interview about the case, and one of the victims died after featuring in a television interview about the murders.

Another interesting correlation is that two of the victims in the second set of murders were laid out in a cruciform as though crucified, or else completely exposed to the elements, and if, as Steven Wright's plea of Not Guilty implies, the forensic evidence in the case against him was forged by the investigating police, then this would be a judicial crucifixion of the defendant in the same way. Likewise, the series of murders began with a secretive and careful killer who was cautious of evidence, and ends with an open and rushed murderer leaving plenty of opportunity for evidence, while the police arrests of the suspects begins secretively with unjustified grounds given to the press, and ends with one released on bail and the other plastered in forensic evidence for trial.

Another interesting correlation between the victims and the suspects is that not only did police surveillance officers interview Wright twice before he was arrested, they are also known to have interviewed the last of the victims, Paula Clennell, before she was murdered.

Another correlation between the victims and the suspects is the hurried dumping of the last victim's body for a quick discovery (Paula Clennell again) and the hurried arrests of Stephens and Wright after the Ipswich railway station media circus.

The day before the arrest of Tom Stephens, the police were copiously filmed by the media interviewing passengers at the Ipswich railway station, in what looked like a police media show, even though anyone interested in the case would know that the killer they sought had to use a car, and that this exercise was very unlikely to progress the investigation anywhere. So not only are a suspect and a victim correlated by the press exposure factor, but so is an irrelevant inquiry by the police.

In fact prior to these arrests, the police handling of the case was criticised by the prostitutes themselves, who thought that they were going about it the wrong way. Yet just a day or so after the police media show at the railway station, they produced the arrest of a car owner who was to be the subject of all this forensic evidence against him.

Modus operandi (2)

So the question arises: Why would a killer go out of his way to plaster himself up in forensic evidence, including abundant DNA evidence, only to plead Not Guilty against it at his trial?

And why would a serial killer accelerate the pace of his series so dramatically when the police surveillance of the small district from which he took his victims was at its height?

And if Steven Wright did not fit himself up in this way, then why did the murders stop when he was arrested?

Not only are the timings of the murders peculiar, but so are the timings of the police investigation and resolution.

And so is the method of murder. The women were asphyxiated, but not apparently strangled. The prosecution experts suggested that a headlock or an armlock from behind might be the cause of the neck compression injuries on Paula Clennell, and this would correspond with the bruise on the back of Tania Nicol's knee, but this is a most peculiar modus operandi for a gratuitous sex murderer. Most people wouldn't know how to do a headlock or that a headlock might kill the victim. The killer would surely have to be trained in headlocks, and even perhaps would have to know from experience and practise (or training) that you could kill somebody with a headlock.

Why would a gratuitous sex murderer go out hunting prostitutes in order to headlock them to death?

And how would a headlock produce blood on the back seat of a car? Or blood on the left sleeve of a jacket in one case, and the right sleeve of a jacket in another?


Not only are the murders and arrests peculiar, but so is the forensic evidence against Steven Wright. This evidence proves that either Steven Wright did murder these five women and fit himself up, or else that he did not, and that he has been fitted up by someone else, and that someone else had committed the murders.

Collectively, this forensic evidence consisted of:

- Hairs from Annette Nicholls, found in Wright's car. No other victim's hair was found in his car. This is odd if his practise was to take the women into his car and (according to other evidence at the trial) use violence there, and that only one of them left hair there. Also odd is that this evidence survived his regular car cleaning activites when that of the other victims did not.

- Blood stains from Paula Clennell, on the rear seat of his car. If asphyxiation was the cause of death in these cases, why is there blood? And why no hair? Blood stains also connect Paula Clennell and Annette Nicholls to his reflective jacket.

- A full profile of Wright's DNA found on the three cascade murder victims. This is despite the bodies being exposed to wind and rain for several days, and that he used condoms.

- A combination of various fibres linked all the bodies to Wright's clothing, car and home and to each other in a complete web of evidence. This is despite the victims being exposed to wind and rain or in running water in a brook for up to five weeks.

- No fingerprints from any of the victims in his car or in his home. This is odd, since the fibre evidence at the trial connected them all to both.

- No fibres were found on the head-rests of his car, even though there were fibres in the hair of victims 1 and 2. This is also odd if all the women were picked up in his car.

Fibre evidence connecting Wright to the murders were as follows:

1 - Tania Nicol - variable blue polyester fibres also found on Gemma Adams, and a black fibre matching carpeting in the front of Wright's car. This evidence is despite the body being in running water for five weeks, and despite the difficulty of breaking off the nylon fibres in such carpeting.

2 - Gemma Adams - a red acrylic fibre that corresponded with the same found on the bodies of Alderton and Clennell (victims 3 and 5) and on the parcel shelf and rear seat of Wright's car, on his sofa, and on the tracksuit bottoms that he was arrested in. The source of these fibres was not found among Wright's effects. This evidence is despite the body being in running water for three weeks.

3 - Anneli Alderton - fibres found on her connected her body to Wright's car, home, tracksuit bottoms, reflective jacket (which reflects light from headlamps).

4 - Annette Nicholls - fibres found on her body matched fibres found on Wright's car, coat, reflective jacket, gloves, tracksuit bottoms, coat and sofa at home. Blue/yellow fibres not found on other victims led the forensic expert to assume that they came from something personal to the victim. Other fibres corresponded with those found on Alderton. A synthetic fur fibre connected the body to some found on Wright's reflective jacket and in his car. The expert assumed that the fur fibre came from something that the victim had worn, because the court were told that Nicholls was wearing fur on the last day that she was seen alive.

5 - Paula Clennell -

The forensic experts testified that most fibre deposits would be lost in the wind and rain after a few hours of exposure to the elements, but the prosecution was able to provide enough of this material to connect all of the victims to each other for the series, and also to connect them all to Steven Wright's car, his home and clothing. The credibility seems to implode somewhat.

Also forensic experts testified that the fibres found on the two running water bodies, namely victims 1 and 2, must have been in the very roots of their hair for them to survive the barrage of running water for so long, and that the fibres from the carpeting in Wright's car, which were found on these two victims, do not break off very easily, so that contact of great force would be needed to break off the samples alleged to have been found in the victims' hair. This forensic evidence therefore survived weeks of running water, despite the victims having long straight hair, and these fibres would need to resist great force to be able to cling on. Another odd aspect of these fibres is that in the case of Tania Nicol, the forensic team had found in her hair several fibres that suggested forceful contact with items not only from Wright's car, but also from his home and his clothing. So, not only do the forceful contact and the forceful conditions of the running water strain credibility, but so does the forceful contact factor itself, because there were so many points requiring forceful contact for the evidence to be transferred.

The prosecution used Wright's gloves, which were found inside his car, to provide DNA evidence against him. This evidence included semen stains from Wright inside and out, and DNA material that could have come from Alderton and Nicholls, at one glove each, so that this circumstance corresponds with the blood stains on his reflective jacket, at one sleeve each (Nicholls and Clennell). This two-by-two match-up connects Wright to all three of the later victims and them to his house and car.

Blood is alleged to have been found of two of the cascade murder victims on the reflective jacket at Wright's home, at one victim per sleeve, which corresponds with the one victim per glove in a different combination of victims. This coincidence looks unlikely and so does the blood in relation to the cause of death, asphyxiation or "compression" of the neck. There are no significant injuries to account for this.

Portrait of the killer

Wright testified that he only wore his reflective jacket for going to work. The question that should be asked is, Why would a killer wear a reflective jacket at night when murdering and disposing of the bodies, unless he hoped to attract media coverage and the police?

The police wear reflective jackets without thinking about it, and so apparently does the instigator of these blood stains.

The collective picture of the killer that we get from the forensic evidence and from the events is of someone who would wear a reflective jacket at night when murdering and disposing of his victims; that he would increase his activity when police surveillance was at its height, and that he might use a headlock or armlock to kill his victims with.

This is hardly the behaviour of a real serial serial killer, and nor is the timing of the murders. This portrait of a man who works at night at criminal matters while wearing a reflective jacket suggests police psychology and design. The prosecution's portrait of the killer is logically that of a policeman.

The suspect car

The evidence used by the prosecution included CCTV footage in black and white of a Ford Mondeo picking up Tania Nicol on the night that she is understood to have disappeared. The prosecution case was that this car was Steven Wright's Ford Mondeo and that therefore this was the pick-up in which she was killed. However, a witness saw Nicol talking after this time to two men sitting in a posh blue car, which undermines this evidence completely.

A more obvious candidate for a suspect car is a blue BMW with polished alloy wheel hubs that was seen by several witnesses. Anneli Alderton was last seen alive getting into a dark blue BMW. Gemma Adams was last seen outside a BMW garage. Annette Nicholls was seen getting into a blue BMW with polished alloy wheel hubs a week before she is thought to have vanished. Tania Nicol was last seen at the driver's window talking and giggling with two men sitting in a 'posh' blue car. Another witness, a doorman at an Ipswich massage parlour, saw a driver in a blue BMW with polished alloy wheel hubs behaving very strangely in the car park in early December. The driver repeatedly reversed his car back and forth outside the door, then moved further up into the car park and did the same again, revving up his engine and stopping it repeatedly. He then drove off very fast.

If we add up all the elements of this, what we get is "last seen alive", "seen getting into", "last seen outside a BMW garage", "acting suspiciously outside a sex-related venue", "last seen talking to two men in a 'posh' car", all of which must guarantee suspicion of a blue BMW. An additional point of interest is that while a "posh" car would easily attract women who were punting for money, why should the driver of a BMW or a "posh" car be interested in these women, except perhaps to lure them and murder them? This point in itself should arouse suspicion.

In the case of Steven Wright's Ford Mondeo, all that we get collectively is "possibly his car", "seen getting into it prior to being seen talking to two men in a 'posh' car". This is empty evidence. It doesn't support the DNA evidence.

Domestic hygiene

The prosecution evidence included neighbours who testified that Wright cleaned his car every weekend, and that his washing machine was heard going twice a week. The prosecution case implied that this was evidence of a killer cleaning up afterwards, but the weekly timing of his car cleaning corresponds with domestic cleanliness, and this and the washing machine activity contradicts the slovenliness and filthiness suggested by the prosecution evidence of the semen stained gloves and reflective jacket. And the forensic evidence itself is not consistent with the imputation placed on Wright's car cleaning activity by the prosecution either. And since he had bought his car only a few weeks before, his regular car cleaning is only understandable. So, with the exception of the forensic evidence itself, this aspect of the prosecution case logically seems to implode.

There is a complete map of forensic evidence connecting the series together and to Steven Wright as well, but it is also a complete web of unlikelihoods and illogicalities. In themselves these may mean nothing, but on this scale it looks significant.

There were no fingerprints of the women in Wright's house or car, and no semen of Wright's was found inside the victims. His explanation was that he used condoms. Another explanation would be that he didn't use these women at the time that they were murdered.

The defence

Not only are the murders, arrests and forensic evidence peculiar, but so is Steven Wright's defence. His defence is that he did not murder any of the victims, but that he did have sex with all but one, namely Tania Nicol, the first victim, who he claims he had picked up but had changed his mind about. His defence accepts that he had sex with all of them on the last night of their lives, but that he didn't kill them. So why should an innocent man defend himself by placing himself with the victims at the time that they were murdered, when the series stopped with his arrest?

Wright's defence requires the public to believe that immediately after his having had sex with the victims, someone else murdered them. This is highly unlikely, but there is another explanation for his defence.

If Wright had had sex with the victims, and if he has been fitted up with this forensic evidence, then he may well not be able to remember at what point he had had sex with them in relation to their disappearance, and he wouldn't have known exactly when they disappeared or even exactly who they were when they disappeared.

He would therefore be as confused about the forensic evidence as the jury would be. His defence accepts the forensic evidence while he pleaded Not Guilty, presumably because he is defending himself against that evidence.

Under cross-examination Wright is always precise and emphatic in his responses to questions relating to his involvement in the murders, such as with "No, no way", while he always answers conditionally or hyperthetically any questions relating to his sexual involvement with the women and its relationship with the evidence and murders, such as, "It would seem so". He also makes admissions that he need not have made, such as his awareness of some of the areas that the bodies were disposed in, where a dishonest denier would always deny if he could.

There is no sign of a psychopathic disposition or homicidal mania in Wright's behaviour or in his testimony in court, nor in his history. There is no sign of the jewelry and clothing taken from the victims by the killer in his property.

He has had a long history of involvement with prostitutes dating back a quarter of a century with no sign of a psychopathic disposition in his history.

At 49 years of age, Steven Wright is too old to be a likely serial killer or sex killer. His partner Pam was very distraught when he was arrested and she believed that the whole thing was concocted.

In which case, why did the murders stop with his arrest? The answer must be that Steven Wright was the last of the victims, that he has been given the rap for the murders, and that they could not therefore continue after that point.

The suspects (2)

The other suspect, Tom Stephens, wasn't released from bail until the summer of 2007, when it was decided that he had nothing to offer the investigation. The police could have determined this from the original press interview which was the reason for his arrest, and they could also have determined this from their questioning of him while they were holding Wright in custody.

Since Tom Stephens was held for questioning for the full legal limit that is allowed by law while Wright was being held, and bearing in mind that his information in custody was worthless, and bearing in mind the delay in releasing him from bail, this opens up another correlation between the two suspects, which corresponds with the apparent worthlessness of Wright's arrest and with his defence of Not guilty. It is that Wright had no more value as a suspect than Tom Stephens. And there is even a correlation in the useless information factor too, because Wright's solicitor had advised him to answer police questions with "No comment". So while they were holding Wright and Stephens in custody, they were getting nothing useful from their interviews with either.

Another correlation between the two suspects is that both of them admitted to having had sexual contact with the victims, except that in Wright's case it was as a result of his prosecution, whereas in Stephens's case it got him arrested.

In fact this aspect raises another possible correlation between the suspects, if the police were not telling the truth when they informed the press that the arrest of Steven Wright was not the result of a trawl of the prostitutes' clients, and it would also explain why the police bothered to make this point to the media. If Steven Wright had used the prostitutes as he claims in his defence, then he and his car and his house would have been known to them, and the police would have collected this information. And the information would have come from the three cascade murder victims before they were killed. In that case, and in view of Wright's defence, the police would have arrested both suspects purely because they had been customers of the victims.

And if the police were misinforming the press in this matter, this would reveal yet another correlation in this case, between this and the Ipswich railway station media circus the night before they arrested the two car drivers. Both these media shows would then be correspondingly pretentious. This correlation would confirm that the police were telling the press the opposite of the truth about the reason for Wright's arrest, and it completes a symmetrical web of reversed truths or pretences.

The method of murder and the timings in the case of the three cascade murder victims does not correspond with a sex murder series, and suggest that these women were killed for a different reason. And if an armlock or headlock were used, then the likelihood must be perhaps that a second party smothered them while the first held them.

And one witness at the trial reported seeing Tania Nicol on the night she disappeared talking amiably with two men in a "posh" car. Nicol was standing at the driver's window looking in, with her hands on her knees, laughing.

There is another interesting correlation between the two suspects and the murders here, because if two people murdered the women, as the headlock injuries on Paula Clennell would suggest, and bearing in mind that this would also explain the sudden change in the timing of the murders from a serial to a cascade series, then the two murderers would correspond with the two apparently worthless suspects held by the police in custody to account for these crimes. Collectively this would also give three reasons for supposing that there were two killers.

There is yet another interesting correlation to be found in this case, this time between the information that the police would have recovered about Steven Wright before his arrest, and his prosecution. If the police had got their information about him from the prostitutes, then they would have known that he had told their officers a little white lie about his presence in the red light district of Ipswich, and this would correspond with any fitting-up of Steven Wright in this prosecution, which would be a very black lie by the police countering his little white one. It would also identify why he might have been selected for prosecution.

Altogether there have been three different grounds given for the arrest of Steven Wright, and a fourth that can be divined. The first of these is the CCTV footage, which implodes on examination; the second is Steven Wright's being stopped in the red light district on two occasions, which also logically implodes, save for the little white lie that Wright told to the police; the third is a DNA match from a 2001 sample of Wright's with DNA on the last three victims, which doesn't accord with the police arrest and holding of Tom Stephens or with the holding of Wright for 48 hours before charging him; and the fourth is a trawling of the prostitutes' clients, which does correspond with Tom Stephens' arrest and also with the little white lie of Steven Wright's, which would also correspond with a little white lie by the police to the press about it.

Guilty or not guilty

Bearing in mind the intricate correlation of corresponding values throughout this case and the story that they tell; and bearing in mind the apparent self-imploding character of the forensic evidence and the absurdity of the serial killer story that it tells; and bearing in mind the meticulous correctness of Steven Wright's defence under cross-examination, and given his history, the case against him surely would have to be dismissed. Everything about the prosecution case looks pretentious except for Steven Wright's defence.

Copyright David Dixon 2008

For the Algebra of Justice click here.

For the Ian Huntley case click here.