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'Crossbow cannibal' put on remand

Criminology student Stephen Griffiths, who has dubbed himself the "crossbow cannibal", has been remanded in custody charged with the murder of three prostitutes.

The former public schoolboy made a brief appearance at Bradford Crown Court on Friday afternoon accused of killing Suzanne Blamires, Shelley Armitage and Susan Rushworth, who all went missing in the city. It was his second court appearance of the day after his case was fast-tracked to the crown court.

On Friday morning Griffiths, 40, appeared at Bradford Magistrates' Court where, when asked to confirm his name, he said: "The crossbow cannibal." Asked for his address, Griffiths, who was wearing a black shirt and navy blue jeans, replied: "Erm ... here I guess."

Relatives of some of the victims were in court for the earlier hearing. Some wiped away tears at the start of proceedings. Others stared intently at Griffiths, who stood to give his 'name'.

At other times he sat, fidgeting and touching his head, or staring silently at the floor,

Griffiths is charged with murdering Ms Blamires between May 20 and May 25; murdering Ms Rushworth between June 22, 2009, and May 25 this year, and murdering Ms Armitage between April 25 and May 25 this year.

Police said the remains of Ms Blamires were found on Tuesday afternoon in water just a few yards from where the busy Otley Road crosses the River Aire in Shipley. Ms Blamires was last seen on Friday May 21, while Ms Armitage, 31, has been missing since Monday, April 26, and Ms Rushworth, 43, disappeared on June 22 last year.

Griffiths, a psychology graduate undertaking postgraduate research in criminology at Bradford University, was arrested on Monday at his home on the edge of Bradford's red-light district.

Judge James Goss told Griffiths his next appearance would be via video link to prison. The defendant sat for most of the five-minute hearing behind the glass front of the dock with his hands clasped together and his head bowed. He nodded when he was told he would next be appearing by the video link.

He showed no emotion as about 18 members of his alleged victims' families strained to see him through a glass barrier along the public gallery.

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph