Prostitute 'killed by crossbow'
A post-mortem examination carried out on the remains of a prostitute that were found in a river revealed she was killed by a crossbow, a coroner has said.
Coroner Roger Whittaker told an inquest at Bradford Coroners Court that tests carried out by Home Office pathologist Peter Vanezis on the remains of 36-year-old Suzanne Blamires, which were discovered in the River Aire in Shipley on May 25, showed she was killed by the weapon.
Mr Whittaker said: "I have a report in respect of Suzanne Blamires which satisfies me as to the cause of her death. The cause is effectively severe injuries caused by a crossbow."
He also formally opened the inquest into the death of Shelley Armitage, 31, and heard how detectives established she was dead even though they had only recovered a small piece of human tissue belonging to her.
Detective Superintendent Sukhbir Singh, a senior investigating officer in the case, told the inquest a small part of Ms Armitage's spine was found in the same stretch of the River Aire as where those of Ms Blamires were discovered.
Mr Singh said: "She would not have been alive with this piece of spine missing from her body."
The coroner also told Mr Singh he was anxious to be informed if detectives found the remains of 43-year-old Susan Rushworth, another Bradford sex worker who disappeared last year, so that he could open the inquest into her death. If her remains were not recovered, he would apply to the Home Office to open an inquest without a body, he added.
Mr Whittaker released the remains of both Ms Blamires and Ms Armitage back to their families so funerals could be carried out and adjourned both inquests pending the conclusion of the trial of Stephen Griffiths.
Criminology student Griffiths, 40, 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.
Earlier this month Griffiths, of Thornton Road, Bradford, appeared in Sheffield Crown Court via videolink from prison and was told his case will be heard again on October 15 at Bradford Crown Court.