The Ipswich serial murders took place between 30 October and 10 December 2006, during which time the bodies of five murdered women were discovered at different locations near Ipswich, Suffolk, England. All of the victims were women who had worked as prostitutes in the Ipswich area. Their bodies were discovered naked, but there were no signs 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 patronising 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.
The murders received a large amount of media attention, both nationally and internationally. The press often compared the murders to those committed by the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, who murdered 13 women and attacked seven others (mostly prostitutes) between 1975 and 1981. There was some concern that the level of media coverage at the time could jeopardise a trial. The murders also sparked debates in the media over the laws surrounding prostitution.