Police Arrest Second Suspect in 'Ipswich Ripper' Case

Police pursuing the killer of five prostitutes arrested a second man Tuesday, searched his home in Ipswich's red light district and hauled away his car for further forensic examination.

Meanwhile, a court gave police permission to hold the man arrested Monday for an additional 36 hours while officers searched his back yard for possible clues.

Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Gull said both men are suspects in the murders of five known prostitutes whose naked bodies were found dumped in rural areas of eastern England around Ipswich, 70 miles northeast of London, in a 10-day period beginning Dec. 2.

Police have not formally identified or charged either man.

Sources told Sky News the second man arrested was 48-year-old Steve Wright.

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"He was always cleaning that Mondeo [car] both inside and out," said David Welton, 43, who lived next door to the second suspect on London Road in Ipswich.

The landlord of the local pub, Eddie Roberts, described himself as Mr Wright's best mate and said he would be "shocked and surprised" if he was involved.

Sky News learned that Wright was a client of local prostitutes and was "well known" to women who worked the area.

Lou, a prostitute who works in the red light district, said the suspect was "just a normal punter".

"He used to come down, pick us up, take us back to his flat and that's it," she said, asking that her last name not be used.

The suspect arrested Monday in Trimley St. Martin, eight miles southeast of Ipswich, was identified in news reports as Tom Stephens, 37, a supermarket clerk, part-time taxi driver and former unpaid auxiliary policeman.

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He had been quoted as telling the Sunday Mirror newspaper that he was innocent, but that he knew all five of the victims and had been interviewed by police.

"I don't have alibis for some of the times [of the killings]; actually, I'm not entirely sure I have tight alibis for any of the times. But I'm not worried about being charged. I'm innocent," the Sunday Mirror quoted him as saying.

Police in white overalls, hoods and face masks were seen in the garden of the home in Trimley St. Martin, at times on hands and knees probing the grass with gloved fingers.

Three of the bodies were found near the main road and the rail line between Ipswich and Trimley; the two others were discovered near the same road in areas south and southwest of Ipswich.

Paula Clennell, 24, died of compression to her neck, and Anneli Alderton, 24, was strangled. Post-mortem examinations of the bodies of Tania Nicol, 19, Annette Nicholls, 29, and Gemma Adams, 25, reached no conclusion on the cause of their deaths.

An inquest into the death of Adams was opened and adjourned last week. Coroners' inquests into the other deaths were set to begin Wednesday.

Sky News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.