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EXCLUSIVE Ex-wife of Suffolk Strangler Steve Wright says she is glad he has been arrested

Victoria Hall, 17, was strangled and dumped in a water-filled ditch

The ex-wife of Suffolk Strangler Steve Wright says she is glad he has been arrested for Victoria Hall’s murder.  

Miss Hall, 17, was strangled and dumped in a water-filled ditch after disappearing while walking home from a nightclub in Felixstowe on September 18, 1999 – almost a decade before Wright’s reign of fear just 15 miles south in Ipswich.

Wright, 63, given a whole life tariff for the murders of five prostitutes in Ipswich in 2008, was dramatically arrested at Long Lartin Prison in Worcestershire on Wednesday this week on suspicion of the murder of 17-year-old Miss Hall.

Suffolk Police had reopened an investigation into her death two years ago after receiving new ‘information from witnesses’ which they described at the time as significant.

Now Diane Cole, who married the serial killer in 1987 but divorced just two-years later has spoken exclusively with MailOnline about the arrest. 

Ms Cole, who now lives in the North East, said: ‘I heard about his arrest yesterday and my initial thoughts were ‘so be it’. I hope that Victoria Hall’s family will eventually get some closure. I hope justice is done.

‘I’m glad the job is getting done and being sorted out once and for all because I just want the truth out there.

‘By the time of the murders, Steve wasn’t in my life anymore, he’d gone.’

She added: ‘I’ve spoken before about my life with Steve and I don’t want to be dragged back all through that again. It took over my life and wasn’t very pleasant for me.’

Ms Cole, 65, Wright’s second wife, previously branded him a ‘monster’ and revealed how he would beat her.

Now Diane Cole, who married the serial killer in 1987 but divorced just two-years later has spoken exclusively with MailOnline about the arrest

Now Diane Cole, who married the serial killer in 1987 but divorced just two-years later has spoken exclusively with MailOnline about the arrest

Miss Hall had left her home in Faulkeners Way in Trimley St Mary, at 9pm on September 18, 1999, to join friends at the Bandbox nightclub in Felixstowe.

She left the club with her best friend Gemma Algar, 17, at 1am the next morning, stopping to buy chips from the Bodrum Grill takeaway.

The pair walked back along Trimley High Road towards their respective homes while eating chips and singing, before splitting up at the junction of Faulkeners Way at 2.20am.

A short time later Miss Algar heard screams, but assumed it was someone messing around. Other eye-witnesses heard what sounded like a sports car roaring away.

Miss Hall’s parents Graham and Lorinda Hall reported her missing in the morning and a huge hunt for her got underway.

Her naked body was found by a dog walker on September 24 in a water-filled ditch around 20 miles away in Creeting St Peter near Stowmarket, Suffolk.

Steve Wright, 63, was given a whole life tariff for the murders of five prostitutes in Ipswich in 2008

Steve Wright, 63, was given a whole life tariff for the murders of five prostitutes in Ipswich in 2008

Tests revealed that Miss Hall who had just started her second year of studying A levels at Orwell High School, Felixstowe, had not been sexually assaulted.

Porsche-driving businessman Adrian Bradshaw, then aged 27, was charged with murder but cleared after a two-week trial at Norwich Crown Court.

In a statement Suffolk Police statement said yesterday: ‘Police investigating the unsolved murder of a teenage girl from Trimley St Mary – which took place over 20 years ago – have made an arrest as part of the inquiry.

‘Victoria Hall, aged 17, was last seen alive in the early hours of Sunday 19 September 1999, in High Road, Trimley St Mary.

‘Victoria left home on the evening of Saturday 18 September 1999 to go for a night out with a friend at the Bandbox nightclub in Bent Hill, Felixstowe, where they remained until around 1am on the morning of Sunday 19 September.

‘They then went to get some food at the Bodrum Grill in Undercliff Road West, before beginning the walk back to Trimley St Mary. They parted at around 2.20am near to the junction of High Road and Faulkeners Way. Victoria was just yards away from her home.

‘When Victoria’s parents woke-up that morning and discovered that she had not returned home, the police were called and a missing person inquiry commenced.

‘Five days later, on Friday 24 September, Victoria’s naked body was found in a ditch beside a field by a dog walker in Creeting Lane, Creeting St Peter, approximately 25 miles away from where she was last seen.

‘In September 2019, Suffolk Police revealed that the case – known as Operation Avon – was now a live inquiry again and being fully reinvestigated by a new team of detectives, after fresh information had been received that was not previously known.

‘As a result of the work that has been ongoing for the past two years, officers have arrested a man on suspicion of murder this morning, Wednesday 28 July.

‘This individual is not someone who has previously been arrested as part of this inquiry’.

The new investigation into Miss Hall’s murder was announced in September 2019 by Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Millar of Suffolk Police, who said at the time that it was ‘quite possible’ that someone was protecting the killer, and appealed for them to come forward.

Mr Hall, 67, said in 2019 that he and his wife were told six months previously about the new police leads.

Describing his daughter, he said: ‘She was a fun loving teenager who liked to go out in the evenings. She was an intelligent girl who was working hard, hopefully to go to university. She was a normal 17-year-old girl.

‘We obviously see her friends who were the same age and you do wonder what Victoria would be doing at this stage and what she would have achieved in the last 20 years, and what she would have done with her life.’


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