A SUPERMARKET worker arrested on suspicion of murdering five prostitutes told detectives that he did not want “to be seen as another Ian Huntley”, a jury heard.
Tom Stephens, who is in his late 30s, told police that “if it had been me, I would have strangled them”, Ipswich Crown Court was told.
Evidence about Mr Stephens, who was freed without charge after being arrested by detectives, was heard at the trial of Steve Wright, who is accused of murdering the prostitutes.
Wright, 49, denies murdering Gemma Adams, 25, Tania Nicol, 19, Anneli Alderton, 24, Paula Clennell, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29.
The remains of the women, who all worked in Ipswich, were found in isolated spots near the town during a 10-day period in December 2006.
Detectives think that all were asphyxiated.
Miss Alderton, the mother of a young boy, is a former Huddersfield woman.
Jurors were told that Mr Stephens was arrested at his home near Felixstowe, Suffolk, on December 18 2006 – six days after the remains of the fifth victim were found.
Mark Fenhalls, who is part of Wright’s defence team, told the jury that Mr Stephens had been arrested a few hours after calling police and saying that he was “worried about whether he had a split personality and if he was ‘doing things which he doesn’t know about, then going back to his normal personality’.”
“He was arrested and cautioned. He made no reply,” Mr Fenhalls told the court.
He was interviewed at a police station and answered questions about his knowledge of the five women and general background information about his life. Mr Fenhalls said the interviews continued on December 19.
“The police asked detailed questions about his alleged links to the five women,” said Mr Fenhalls.
“Topics covered included last sightings of him on CCTV in the (Ipswich) red-light area, his knowledge of the deposition sites, his movements in the week before his arrest and his interviews with journalists.”
Mr Fenhalls said Mr Stephens declined to answer questions.
“From police inquiries it has not been possible to establish an independent alibi for Tom Stephens for any of the nights on which it is alleged the five women disappeared,” said Mr Fenhalls.
“Tom Stephens’ car was seized and forensically examined and taped. His home was also forensically examined and taped.
“The police obtained a DNA sample from Tom Stephens. This DNA sample and the tapings from his home and car were submitted to the Forensic Science Service for forensic analysis.”
He said Mr Stephens was not charged with any offence in relation to the disappearances or deaths of the prostitutes.