The Ipswich serial murders took place between 30 October and 10 December 2006 when the bodies of five murdered women were discovered at different locations near Ipswich. All the victims were prostitutes from the area. Their bodies were discovered naked, but there was no sign of sexual assault. Two of the victims, Anneli Alderton and Paula Clennell were confirmed to have been killed by asphyxiation. A cause of death for the other victims, Gemma Adams, Tania Nicol and Annette Nicholls, was not established.
Suffolk Police linked the killings and launched a murder investigation codenamed Operation Sumac. Due to the size of the investigation police officers were drafted from several other police forces. Two arrests were made in connection with the murders. The first suspect, who was never officially named by police, was released without charge. Forklift truck driver Steven Gerald James Wright, then aged 48, was arrested on suspicion of murder on 19 December 2006 and charged with the murders of all five women on 21 December.
Wright was remanded in custody and his trial began on 14 January 2008 at Ipswich Crown Court. Wright pleaded not guilty to the charges, although he admitted having sex with all five victims, and that he had been using prostitutes since the 1980s. DNA and fibre evidence was presented to the court that linked Wright to the victims. He was found guilty of all five murders on 21 February 2008 and was sentenced the following day to life imprisonment with a recommendation that he should never be released from prison.
On 19 March 2008, it was announced that Wright would be lodging an appeal against his five convictions for murder, as well as the trial judge's recommendation that his life sentence should mean life. Amongst other things, Wright has claimed that the trial should not have been held in Ipswich, and that the evidence against him was not sufficient proof of his guilt, so giving him grounds for an appeal. Wright was reported to have written to the court of appeal "All five women were stripped naked of clothing/jewellery/phones/bags and no evidence was found in my house or car." Wright had also applied to receive a new solicitor.
The news of his planned appeal sparked outrage among those affected by his crimes, including Brian Adams, father of victim Gemma Adams, who remains convinced of Wright's guilt and urged him to instead "come clean and stop wasting everyone's time". This first appeal was rejected in July 2008.
On 15 July 2008, it was announced that Steve Wright had renewed his appeal against convictions, and it would be considered by three judges in an open court hearing, the Royal Courts of Justice said. In February 2009, it was reported that Wright had dropped this bid to appeal against the convictions, though some of his family hoped to convince the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to take the case on.