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‘Crossbow cannibal’ who ate prostitutes told he will die in prison

A postgraduate student who killed, dismembered and ate parts of three prostitutes has been told he will die in jail.

Stephen Griffiths (40), who referred to himself as the “crossbow cannibal” after the method he used to kill one of his victims, was told he will never be released from prison after carrying out the “wicked and monstrous” crimes.

The former public schoolboy lured sex workers Suzanne Blamires (36), Shelley Armitage (31) and Susan Rushworth (43) to his flat in Bradford where he used knives and power tools to butcher the women in his bath.

A packed Leeds Crown Court heard that he boasted to police that he cooked body parts and ate some raw.

Griffiths dumped Ms Blamires's dismembered body in the River Aire at Shipley, about five miles from his home in Thornton Road, Bradford. Police divers eventually found 81 pieces of her.

Only a small fragment of Ms Armitage's body was ever found.

No trace of Ms Rushworth’s body has ever been found, apart from blood spatterings in Griffiths's flat.

Yesterday in court one distraught relative confronted Griffiths in the dock as the gruesome details were revealed in full.

Others wept uncontrollably as the horrific nature of his depraved crimes were outlined.

The judge, Mr Justice Openshaw, said: “There's probably a consensus that cannibalising a victim exerts utmost power and control over them.

“It's one thing to terrorise and kill a victim. But to terrorise, kill, dismember and then eat parts of a victim is to take the exercise of power to another level.”

The judge said Griffiths derived sexual gratification from the killings.

But he said the real reasons for the murders remain “to some extent obscure”.

“He derived enjoyment from exerting power over others,” he added.

The judge said he had no reason to doubt Griffiths's claims of cannibalism, adding: “There is no reason to doubt what he said about this. Why should he tell such a terrible lie?”

He jailed Griffiths for life and imposed a whole-life tariff, which means he will remain in prison until he dies.

The judge said: “The circumstances of these murders are so wicked and monstrous they leave me in no doubt the defendant should be kept in prison for the rest of his life.”

Speaking after the case, detectives were asked whether Griffiths could have killed more.

They said they had no evidence to link Griffiths with any other unsolved murders or missing persons, but the next stage of their inquiry would be to explore any possible links.

Griffiths admitted three counts of murder yesterday.

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