'Crossbow cannibal' admits murders

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An artist's impression of Stephen Griffiths, who has admitted murdering three prostitutes

A criminology student who dubbed himself the “crossbow cannibal” and bragged to police about eating human flesh has been jailed for life after he admitted murdering three prostitutes.

Stephen Griffiths, 40, who was obsessed with serial killers, murdered Suzanne Blamires, Shelley Armitage and Susan Rushworth, who all worked in the red light district near his home in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

Griffiths, who pleaded guilty to the murders at Leeds Crown Court, was caught when a caretaker at the flats where he lived saw horrific CCTV footage of Ms Blamires’s final moments. When he was arrested Griffiths told police “I’ve killed loads” and claimed he had eaten some of Ms Blamires’s flesh, adding: “That’s part of the magic”.

Griffiths stood in the dock to enter his pleas surrounded by five security guards. Dressed in a grey tracksuit, he said “yes” when asked to confirm his name. He said “guilty” in a quiet voice when the clerk put each of the three murder charges to him.

Judge Mr Justice Openshaw told the court the defendant’s mental health had been carefully examined and there was “no question that he was fit to plead”.

Prosecuting, Robert Smith QC said it was the job of the caretaker at the housing association development where he lived to review CCTV footage each morning. On May 24, as he watched the recordings at 8.30am, he made his grim discovery. Footage from camera 14 showed Ms Blamires running out of Griffiths’s flat with her killer in pursuit. She was then seen being dragged along the floor by her leg by Griffiths. Mr Smith said Griffiths was seen to have something in his hand. The woman was then shot with a crossbow before Griffiths “gestured” by holding a finger up to the camera.

Mr Smith told the court how Griffiths told arresting officers: “I’m Osama bin Laden”.

The prosecutor said once in a police station he told officers: “I’ve killed a lot more than Suzanne Blamires – I’ve killed loads. Peter Sutcliffe came a cropper in Sheffield. So did I but at least I got out of the city.”

Griffiths also told the interviewing officers he was “only going to talk about five Bradford cases”.

Family members sobbed as the prosecutor outlined details of the murders.

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