Life for Crossbow Cannibal
Student admits murdering three prostitutes, but police believe he may have killed up to six women
Published 22/12/2010 | 05:00
A PhD student who referred to himself as the Crossbow Cannibal will spend the rest of his life in prison after he admitted murdering and dismembering three women whom he also claims to have eaten.
Stephen Griffiths pleaded guilty to murdering Suzanne Blamires (36) -- whom he shot with a crossbow bolt as she tried to run away from him -- Shelley Armitage (31) and Susan Rushworth (43) after luring them to his flat on the edge of Bradford's red light district.
As he was jailed for what a judge described as his "monstrous and wicked" crimes, police announced they are reviewing unsolved murders after he indicated in an interview that he had killed six women in total.
Griffiths (40) a criminology student obsessed with serial killers, told detectives he had committed murder because: "I don't have much regard for the human race."
Griffiths was free to commit murder despite a 23-year history of violence during which psychiatrists repeatedly warned he was dangerous, with one doctor describing him as a "psychopath" who was "strongly attracted" to killing people.
His macabre crimes were discovered in May after a caretaker witnessed Miss Blamires' murder as he reviewed CCTV footage of the flats where Griffiths lived.
It showed Griffiths firing a bolt into his last victim's head, then holding the crossbow above his head in a triumphant gesture before "toasting" the death by raising a can of drink to the CCTV camera.
It emerged yesterday that after Griffiths dragged Miss Blamires' body back into his flat he went out to try to find another victim, hoping to carry out a second murder in the space of an hour, but a prostitute whom he approached refused to go with him. Griffiths told police he cooked and ate parts of his first two victims and ate the third one raw.
As he was led into the dock at Leeds Crown Court he mouthed "who are you looking at?" to relatives of his victims, some of whom shouted obscenities at him in return.
Family members sobbed in court as the prosecutor, Robert Smith QC, revealed gruesome details of the murders.
He said Griffiths had admitted to killing Miss Blamires in the flat and dismembering her by hand, while power tools had been used on the other victims.
"It was just a slaughterhouse in the bathtub," he told officers.
He told police he was studying for a PhD in homicide and had "cut himself off from society" and that a "civil war" was going on in his head.
Mr Smith also told the court 81 different pieces of Miss Blamires were found in or near the River Aire in Shipley. A broken knife and a crossbow bolt were embedded in her severed head.
Imposing a whole life tariff, Mr Justice Openshaw told the court that Griffiths had no mental illness and had expressed no remorse for killing the three women, who all worked as prostitutes.
Griffiths videoed himself defiling Miss Armitage's body using a camera found in his flat. The film showed Miss Armitage, naked and "hog-tied" with green twine. She had been sprayed with black paint with the words "My Sex Slave" on her back.
Griffiths gave a running commentary saying: "I am Ven Pariah, I am the Bloodbath Artist. Here's a model who is assisting me."
It allowed police to establish that Miss Armitage must have died before 1am on April 28 this year. A small piece of her spine was found in the same stretch of river as Miss Blamires' remains were found.
The only evidence relating to Miss Rushworth, who is thought to have been killed with a hammer after she went missing in June last year, were traces of blood found in the flat.
Griffiths was arrested by armed police immediately after they were alerted to the CCTV recording showing Miss Blamires' death.
As they went in he called out "I'm here" and before being removed from the premises told them: "I'm Osama Bin Laden."
During interviews at Halifax Police Station he told detectives: "I've killed a lot more than Susan Blamires, I've killed loads.
"Peter Sutcliffe came a cropper in Sheffield, so did I, but at least I got out of the city."
Mr Smith told the court: "He said he had eaten (Miss Blamires) and she was the third he had cannibalised. He said the first time he had done it he had eaten the thighs and disposed of the body."
In a later interview Griffiths said: "The murders were horrific, butchered, dismembered, eating parts of all three of them."
(© Daily Telegraph, London)