A jury has heard how a man who was questioned over the murders of five prostitutes told police he was concerned he had a "split personality and was doing things he didn't know about".

The jury in the trial of Steve Wright, who is accused of murdering the women including Essex vice girl Anneli Alderton, heard that Tom Stephens was questioned over the deaths but not charged.

Mark Fenhalls, defending, told the jury at Ipswich Crown Court that on December 18, 2006: "Tom Stephens phoned police and said he was worried about whether he had a split personality and was doing things he didn't know about, then was going back to his normal personality."

Mr Stephens was arrested and questioned about his links with the five victims but declined to answer police questions.

Mr Fenhalls said Stephens' car and home were also forensically examined.

"From police inquiries it has not been possible to establish an independent alibi for Tom Stephens on any of the nights that the five women disappeared," he said.

The jury heard Mr Stephens had given a statement to police on November 22 in which he said he would do small jobs for Tania Nicol in return for sexual favours and had similar arrangements with a number of other women.

He would see her five to six times a week and take her to score drugs after she had seen clients, the court heard.

Mr Fenhalls said on December 15 Mr Stephens told his employers he had sex with all five victims and acted as a taxi driver for them.

The court also heard he had texted another of the victims, Paula Clennell, saying he last seen Miss Nicol in the early hours of October 30.

On November 1 Mr Stephens contacted police saying he had "confidential material" about Miss Nicol which he would not disclose over the phone.

Mr Fenhalls said Mr Stephens was seen driving around the red light district of Ipswich several times between October and December 2006.

Before his arrest he told police the dead women "were all on drugs and would do anything for drugs".

He also feared Miss Nicol may have been poisoned or had overdosed on heroin.

The court heard Mr Stephens had offered to enter massage parlours to get information for police during the investigation.

He told officers he had thought about suicide, said Mr Fenhalls.


A petrol station worker and post woman may have been the last people to see Tania Nicol alive.

The two women recognised the prostitute in appeals after she went missing and contacted police.

Kerry Land, who works at Sainsbury's petrol station, in Hadleigh Road, Ipswich, called police on November 7 2006.

She told the court she served Tania Nicol a chocolate bar late on the Monday night.

She said the prostitute was wearing dark knee length boots, jeans and a jacket with a fur hood.

Helen Brooks, a Royal Mail worker, described how she saw Tania Nicol as she cycled to work in the early hours of October 31.

Miss Nicol was standing across the street talking on a mobile phone.

Mrs Brooks said: "She was quite young to be out at that time of morning. I was thinking she was below the age of 16.

"She did look very young."

The women were both shown a CCTV image a young woman crossing the road near the petrol station - both said the woman's clothing in the picture was not the same as that they saw Miss Nicol wearing.

Former fork lift driver Steve Wright stands accused of killing five vice girls.

Wright, 49, has denied murdering Essex's Anneli Alderton and four other prostitutes who worked in Ipswich's red light area.

The bodies of Miss Alderton, 24, and Tania Nicol, 19, Gemma Adams, 25, Paula Clennell, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29, were all found dumped in countryside near Ipswich in December 2006.

Wright, of London Road, Ipswich, is on trial at Ipswich Crown Court.

  • The trial continues.
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