Series 1 - Episode 1: The Suffolk Strangler

David Wilson investigates The Suffolk Strangler

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This week, Professor David Wilson focuses on Steve Wright, The Suffolk Strangler, who was sentenced to life for the murder of five prostitutes in 2008. Wright's crimes made front page news for three months and no woman in the Ipswich area felt safe until he was caught. His crimes were so brutal that the presiding judge at his trial recommended that he should never be released from prison.

Using the latest in cutting-edge criminology techniques, our real life 'Cracker' returns to Ipswich to re-examine these brutal murders and makes a startling discovery.

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Comments (51)

  • dementia Runner

    1 year ago

    dementia Runner

    do the police ever watch his programme s and think yeah hes so right n go look into old cases .....if not why not *wow finally got a comment on ....stupid captcha word thing get rid of it channel 5*

  • JR

    1 year ago

    JR

    Watched this and it reminded me of the murder of Johanna Young in Watton in 1993? Lots of similarities?

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  • dean

    1 year ago

    dean

    channel 5 on demand streaming is very very poor. no excuse to get it it so wrong. sort it out 5.

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  • Richard Carr

    over 1 year ago

    Richard Carr

    Maybe, as a publican with a high profile, it wasn't so much cross-dressing as a disguise?

  • Adrienne

    over 1 year ago

    Adrienne

    Mark Wright dressed as a woman, his male identity couldn't kill his female identity so he transfered that to killing other women. My theory, I'm not a professor of criminology I wouldn't associate with a corrupt criminal justice system that has nothing to do with justice whatsoever. The police arrogant as ever want to be in control so evidence is completely ignored lies believed as long as Mr Policeman is in control.

  • Criminologist

    almost 2 years ago

    Criminologist

    Your trailer for this documentary (as repeated on this website) says: "Using the latest in cutting-edge criminology techniques, our real life 'Cracker' returns to Ipswich to re-examine these brutal murders and makes a startling discovery." Err - I don't think he does. Because Professor David Wilson's so called amazing discovery on national TV in June 2012 on the microfiche in the Ipswich Millennium Library was in fact reported six years earlier in the Guardian newspaper: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2006/dec/21/suffolkmurders.topstories3

  • Mocumentary Lover

    almost 2 years ago

    Mocumentary Lover

    This is a great site for providing anonymous moderated feedback on our thought s on your TV programmes. Well done Channel 5. The funniest thing is that I genuinely thought I was watching a hilarious mocumentary made by the same team who made An Idiot Abroad, when I first tuned into Killers Behind Bars. I don't know who the presenter is but he just keeps repeating "I'm a professor of criminology" and "My Theory" "My Theory" like that hilarious old sketch from Montypython about Miss Elk and her "My Theory" of brontosauruses. What a delightfully hilarious fellow he is. I've saved all the episodes to watch again and again with -'round and a few cans. We watched the first episode again last night and my housemate Nick nearly chocked laughing at the close ups of the presenter desperately trying to be taken seriously with the most ludicrous attempts to make links between unsolved murders and known serial killers. If the presenter was on Britain's Got talent he'd win as the funniest man on Earth. He is set to make a fortune with this series if it is repackaged as a mocumentary. I'm serious Channel 5 - you've struck gold here.

  • Jack

    almost 2 years ago

    Jack

    I think he's a nice bloke. I do like this afternoon radio show.

  • Patti

    almost 2 years ago

    Patti

    I think Steve Wright wanted to be caught. Guilt maybe!

  • OldPhil

    almost 2 years ago

    OldPhil

    Greetings, rohypgnosis. You have raised a truly thought-provoking question! I'm sure most people would agree that some people contribute more to, or are 'better' members of, society than others. However, I do think it is very dangerous if that idea develops into the view that some lives are of more or less value than others. Where would one draw the line? If murdering prostitutes is tolerated would the same rule apply to "massage parlour" workers,lap-dancers, strippers or pimps? Who would make that decision?

  • tim1888

    almost 2 years ago

    tim1888

    the big question is has steve wright killed before the five suffolk victims?

  • rohypgnosis

    almost 2 years ago

    rohypgnosis

    I think an interesting discussion area might be whether it's OK, or not, to give less attention to the murder of prostitutes. Many people look fondly at The Krays and say "They only killed their own", thus recognising that some people choose to live outside the mainstream, and thus, choose to be considered 'outside' suburbia's normal standards, rules and laws. So, when the presenter makes a case for prostitute murders being given equal 'attention' do others think this is a dangerous path to follow? My worry is that would-be murderers might then, instead, attack 'innocent' members of the public who have instead chosen to 'play by society's rules'? . This is a serious question, (n.b. My step-daughter half step-son are both sex workers... so I'm not living in rose-clad streets). Maybe it's OK to let prostitutes be bumped off without too much concern? n.b. On the day Rachel Nickell was murdered in Wimbledon a prostitute was found, more brutally attacked and totally dismembered and yet no one has ever been caught for the crime. Still, she was not blonde, pretty, and 'mainstream' so consequently there was no media coverage. This is sad considering the 'severity' of the attack being, arguably, far...far... more gruesome than that against Rachel. So... My point is... Is it better to go after those people that themselves 'go after' innocent suburban people and let the prostitute killers, to an extent, get on with it as long as they don't kill too many prostitutes in a short period?

  • Katie

    almost 2 years ago

    Katie

    @Robin I think its hilarious that you saw fit to criticise the spelling of criminology (which is in fact correct!!) whilst mispelling (as some have tried to point out to you) advisor..... that cracks me up!

  • Law Graduate

    almost 2 years ago

    Law Graduate

    I think the essence of this programme was to provide an insight into possibilities, not necessarily sound conclusions. He was suggesting a likely scenario, whereby unsolved murders maybe committed by convicted killers. As he mentioned, killers often refuse to admit to crimes they have committed, even once convicted.

  • Henry

    almost 2 years ago

    Henry

    @ Robin, Adviser???

  • fresiarose

    almost 2 years ago

    fresiarose

    just an ordinary member of the public. It made sense to me

  • Henry

    almost 2 years ago

    Henry

    @ Robin, Adviser???

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  • Robin

    almost 2 years ago

    Robin

    So Michelle thinks the spelling of "CRIMINOLGY GRAD" in his comment below was bad for a graduate? She should see the appalling spelling and grammatical mistakes in the CVs I've seen of job seeking graduates when I was a Jobcentre Client Adivser! One good reason why so many can't get jobs these days (but - to be fair - there are other reasons)

  • Michele

    almost 2 years ago

    Michele

    @"CRIMINOLGY GRAD" I am a little surprised that you have graduated in anything, considering the amount of spelling mistakes your comments contained. Educational standards have certainly slipped somewhat!

  • wallyjay321

    almost 2 years ago

    wallyjay321

    So, why cannot channel 5 do sub titles on its replay? BBC and ITV do. Are we deaf people second class citizens?

  • 5teveuk

    almost 2 years ago

    5teveuk

    All that investigating & he still didn't find out the price of sexual services ! On a serious note i think he put forward a very good case for the Police to at the very least examine the case.

  • Iain

    almost 2 years ago

    Iain

    I was suprised Prof Wilson repeated himself so many times. Why was the student ,who suggested it would have been a huge co-incidence that there were 2 serial killers with the same MO at the same time, not challenged? How does one murder in Norwich constitute a serial killing? We saw Prof Wilson scrolling back through Newspaper reports, why did he not tell us how many similar case there may have been in Norwich? All those murders in one short period, all naked, where were the clothes? Didn't he keep trophies? If he was a cross dresser would he not keep the clothes for himself to wear?

  • huntley

    almost 2 years ago

    huntley

    surely there could have been a comment by the police in Norwich to say what their opinion is and if they feel the case is worth reopening. What exactly is the point of the programme if no action is going to be taken!

  • FellowScientist

    almost 2 years ago

    FellowScientist

    So to summarise, 1 - His students agreed with him as they couldn't afford not to (see power differentials). 2 - spoken to TWO sex workers, in TWO different locations who confirmed they had a client who liked to dress as a woman; same TWO sex workers 'allege' it was Steve Wright. 3 - Modern crime theory is just that, a theory. Disappointing, all very circumstantial, and not very 'scientifically' evidence based.

  • daniel rhodes

    almost 2 years ago

    daniel rhodes

    i think the work all criminologist and police do with evidence and dna is outstanding,without the great work they do,murdering scum would still be walking our streetsmi app-lord them,as my father was kidnapped n murderd back in 2002.

  • Criminology Grad

    almost 2 years ago

    Criminology Grad

    I have graduated in Criminology, and I have to be honest I never have used any of Prof Wilsons books, but the Prof did present, and examine the murders in a very criminlogical way. (a general overview) rather than claiming he was a expert in any particular field, and this is what criminologists do! Taking into account of probability, and the distinct simularities of where Ms Bettle was discovered, I would agree with the assumption that Mr Wright was responsible, but hard and direct evidence would be need to proove any link. I dont think the cross dressing is significant in being any MO, but it does explain why Mr Wright lived in red light areas, because some people view cross dressing as devient, others view prostitutes, and drug users as devient, so he probably felt comfotable being with others on the fringes of society, so only Mr Wright will only ever know what caused him to take the lives of these vulnerable women, and devistate familys.

  • Bob

    almost 2 years ago

    Bob

    When is the best seller out? This guy neglected to mention the Green River Killer in USA when talking about the unique M.O. Serial killers do have cooling off periods and change their hunting grounds. So the murders in the other area being likely the same perpetrator are not a revelation. The lack of sufficient evidence and the cost will not open a new investigation. Talk about trying to make a name for yourself. Anybody who mentions they wrote 15 books and happily shows media coverage of themselves is not being slightly egotistical?

  • Gemma

    almost 2 years ago

    Gemma

    He's got my dream job!! I'd love to investigate crime and criminals mindsets! Love watching about it, so fascinating!

  • Robin French

    almost 2 years ago

    Robin French

    Several co-respondants have commented since my contribution, about how intelligent and carismatic Prof Wilson is - implying that he HAS to be therefore be right! I'm not saying Steve Wright didn't necessarily murder the Norfolk girl but that Prof Wilson is relying totally on heresay about cross-dressing and tenous links to bodies being found near water - and that's not good enough for a conviction... . At least, with the Norfolk girl, (apologies - I can't remember her name), she wasn't found IN water where any assailant's DNA would have got washed away (like the first two Suffolk girls). Surely, if there was any DNA left on her body, that could (or should - according to Prof Wilson) lead straight back to Wright. After all, a Harlow man was recently convicted of a rape he did 14yrs ago from his DNA on his victim being linked to a sample given by his father when he was caught stealing !!

  • CaptainJack1993

    almost 2 years ago

    CaptainJack1993

    met David Wilson back when i was studying, hes not just an airhead trying to make a dramatic TV show, as suggested by others, hes a brilliant man.. maybe some of the evidence here my be circumstantial, and possibly coincidental, but majority of cases without forensic evidence are dealt with in this way. I think the common sense argument is key here, it is highly unlikely to have an almost identical killer around the same time in the same place.

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  • Tony 58

    almost 2 years ago

    Tony 58

    Found the programme interesting but agree with Rob. No evidence that it was Wright who was the cross dresser driving the car which Michelle Bettles got into plus even if it was she walked away unharmed from that incident so no crime was committed. At best it would make Wright a person of interest to the police but if prosecuted on the basis of such circumstancial evidence a half competent defence barrister would drive a coach and horses through the case.

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  • Portia

    almost 2 years ago

    Portia

    Something is not adding up and the professor FEELS it. Surely it is unlikely that someone who likes females would kill them.? Does the professor understand energy signatures? Yes, you do need to understand why he did it? Professor is pushing too hard to prove his theory, instead of standing back and detaching.

  • Sarah Giles

    almost 2 years ago

    Sarah Giles

    An excellent programme, and i agree with David Wilson as i have also qualified in this area of Forensic Psychology.

  • Joanna

    almost 2 years ago

    Joanna

    I have met Prof. Wilson at several events and he stuck me as a highly inteliigent man with an excellent ability to communicate his intelligence in an accessable way. He has wonderful charisma in person and I was thrilled to see that he was doing this programme! GOOOOO WILSON!

  • Rob

    almost 2 years ago

    Rob

    I think prof Wilson's conclusions are clutching at straws-his main arguments about the cross dressing does not implicate Steve wright - we don't know Michelle's killer was the same person who she talked about cross dressing AND we don't either of them are Steve Wright. There is simply no hard evidence to link him to this crime and the fact that Prof Wilson is using a dubious link about cross dressing that may or may not be true shows he has nothing else to go on. Surprised none of his student's challenged him on this.

  • helen

    almost 2 years ago

    helen

    Is it repeated on tv later in the week?

  • Robin French

    almost 2 years ago

    Robin French

    I'm not convinced with Prof Wilson's conclusions. Three of the Suffolk girls were NO WHERE NEAR water (and the two that wer near water were IN THE WATER (not on the bank as with the Norfolk girl). Further, the suggestion that Wright was a cross-dresser is only heresay from someone who knew him. AS far as I know, the Suffolk police found no evidence that he cross-dressed. I think Prof Wilson is trying to make 2 & 2 equal 4 - and make a dramatic TV programme

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  • paul

    almost 2 years ago

    paul

    great programme, there is another programme which is compelling about his wife that still visits him

  • noel O'Gara

    almost 2 years ago

    noel O'Gara

    Steve Wright was convicted largely on the evidence that his dna was found on three of the victims. However that only confirmed what he said that he had sex with them all but it did not prove that he killed them. What if their pimp took them into his car just after Wright dropped them back and then he killed them?

  • Judi

    almost 2 years ago

    Judi

    @Natalie Wyatt - he has a proper job, he's a professer of Criminology and Applied Criminology at Birmingham University. Not all presenters are airheads, and this is one who seems to know what he is talking about

  • John Walls

    almost 2 years ago

    John Walls

    Natalie Wyatt- He is a Professor. His PhD is from Cambridge and worked as a Prison Governor, all seams pretty proper to me!!!

  • NATALIE WYATT

    almost 2 years ago

    NATALIE WYATT

    I THINK HE SHOULD GET A PROPER JOB!!!!!

  • SB

    almost 2 years ago

    SB

    miss busy body patience!

  • Pete

    almost 2 years ago

    Pete

    It'll be up when it's been broadcast, I expect

  • miss busy body

    almost 2 years ago

    miss busy body

    so i take it, that i cannot watch it. we dont visit the edsite to watch a clip, we visit it ti watch a programme, sort it out.

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