A British court has ordered a suspect in the murder of five prostitutes in eastern England held in custody until May 1 pending further hearings in his case.

Steven Wright, 48, spoke only to confirm his name during a court appearance in the town of Ipswich. The former fork-lift driver did not enter a plea or seek bail.

He is accused of murdering the five women, whose naked bodies were found in a stream or in woodlands last month.

Investigators say one of the victims was strangled and another died from what is called "compression of the neck." It is not clear how the other three were killed.

A second suspect, arrested last month, was released on bail, pending further investigation.

The killings have been compared to the legendary case of Jack the Ripper, who murdered five London prostitutes in 1888.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.