The Stephen Griffiths Bradford Murders Investigation – Crossbow Cannibal

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The Bradford murders were three serial killings of prostitutes in the city of Bradford, West Yorkshire in 2009 and 2010.

43-year-old Susan Rushworth disappeared on 22 June 2009, followed by 31-year-old Shelley Armitage on 26 April 2010 and 36-year-old Suzanne Blamires on 21 May of the same year.

Stephen Shaun Griffiths, 40, was arrested on 24 May and subsequently charged with killing the three women.  After being found guilty, he was sentenced to life imprisonment with a whole life order.

Parts of Blamires’s body were found in the River Aire in Shipley, near Bradford, on 25 May. Other human tissue found in the same river was later established to belong to Armitage.  

No remains of Rushworth have ever been found.  

Stephen Shaun  Griffiths (born 24 December 1969 in Dewsbury, West Riding of Yorkshire) was arrested and in May 2010 he appeared in the magistrates’ court giving his name as “The Crossbow Cannibal”.   At a crown court appearance that afternoon he was remanded in custody until his next court appearance. He made a second appearance at crown court on 7 June via a video link from Wakefield Prison where a trial date of 16 November 2010 was set.

On 21 December 2010, Griffiths was convicted of all three murders after pleading guilty. At Leeds Crown Court the same day, Mr Justice Openshaw sentenced Griffiths to life imprisonment with a whole life order, meaning he will not become eligible for parole and is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison.[10][11][12] While in prison, Griffiths has attempted suicide on several occasions.   He has also been on a 2-month hunger strike, during which time he avoided contact with other people. 

Here is a timeline outlining the events surrounding the disappearances of the women:

Monday 22 June 2009

11.30am Susan Rushworth, 43, is seen boarding a single-decker bus, near to the Tyke pub, on Thornton Road, Bradford, West Yorkshire.

12pm Last confirmed sighting of Rushworth in the Manningham area, near to her flat in Oak Villas, after getting off the bus.

The mother of three, who has epilepsy and is being treated for a heroin addiction, does not contact her family or use her phone again.

Monday 6 July 2009

Rushworth’s 23-year-old son, James, makes a public appeal for information about his mother’s disappearance. At a West Yorkshire police news conference he says his mother had no reason to go missing and urges people to get in touch. He says his close family are not coping well.

Monday 20 July

Police make a fresh appeal for information a month after Rushworth’s disappearance and outline three areas of concern. Detective Chief Inspector Jon Hoyle says: “We believe Sue was trying to get hold of drugs on the day she went missing; that Sue was working as a sex worker and that Sue suffered from epilepsy and we do not believe she had medication with her.”

Saturday 22 August

Police say they are growing increasingly concerned about Rushworth, who has been missing for two months.

Tuesday 22 September

Police make another appeal for information about Rushworth on the three-month anniversary of her disappearance.

Monday 26 April 2010

7pm Shelley Armitage, 31, leaves her flat in Allerton with a friend and has dinner on City Road before moving towards Sunbridge Road and Rebecca Street.

10pm until late Armitage is last seen in Rebecca Street in Bradford city centre.

Wednesday 28 April

Armitage is reported missing to police.

Wednesday 5 May

Police launch a poster appeal to help trace Armitage, which states that police are extremely concerned for her safety.

Monday 10 May

Police release CCTV footage showing Armitage walking a short way along a street in Bradford before turning around and retracing her steps at about 10.10pm on 26 April.

Officers say detailed searches of Bell Dean Road, in Bradford, have been conducted for clues to the 31-year-old’s disappearance. Inquiries have also taken place in Huddersfield, where Armitage worked the year before.

Detectives say Armitage, who has health issues with drink and drugs, has failed to claim her benefits or use her mobile phone since her disappearance.

Friday 21 May

Suzanne Blamires from Allerton, Bradford, disappears in the city.

Monday 24 May

A 40-year-old man is arrested in connection with her disappearance.

Tuesday 25 May

2pm A member of the public finds body parts in the river Aire in Shipley, West Yorkshire. The remains are not identified but are thought to belong to one of the missing women.

Wednesday 26 May

Police reveal the man is being questioned on suspicion of murdering Blamires, Rushworth and Armitage.

Detectives are granted more time to question the suspect until the following evening.

Thursday 28 May

The body parts found in the river are confirmed as belonging to Blamires.