Video: The 'monstrous and wicked' triple killer ordered to die in jail

A CRIMINOLOGY student who dubbed himself the Crossbow Cannibal has been jailed for the rest of his life for the horrific murders of three prostitutes.

More reports and background on Stephen Griffiths

Stephen Griffiths boasted to police after his arrest that he ate pieces of his victims before disposing of their dismembered bodies saying: "It's part of the magic."

Leeds Crown Court heard Griffiths was assessed as a teenager as dangerous with a severe personality disorder and went on to become obsessed with serial killers and murderers such as Peter Sutcliffe

He even told a probation officer more than 20 years ago "he saw himself as a murderer but not until he reached his early 30s."

Griffiths, now 40, of Holmfield Court, Thornton Road, Bradford, yesterday admitted murdering Susan Rushworth, Shelley Marie Armitage and Suzanne Marguerite Blamires.

Imposing whole life tariffs in each case, Mr Justice Openshaw 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."

The judge said his guilty pleas had been entered without any remorse at all. "He has never said he regretted his actions or said in even the most perfunctory way he was sorry."

He was also satisfied even as Griffiths' third victim was lying dead in his flat before he disposed of her body he was already targeting another prostitute, named only as R, who would probably have become his fourth victim if she had gone home with him that night.

A psychiatrist described Griffiths in 1991 as a "sadistic schizoid psychopath" and those who had seen him since and recently agreed he suffered from a personality disorder which was not treatable but meant he was fit to plead.

Griffiths, wearing a grey tracksuit, answered guilty as each charge was put to him.

He sat with his arms folded looking down throughout the hearing surrounded by prison officers in the dock, only feet from the families of his three victims sitting in the benches normally reserved for jurors.

Many of the relatives wept as the gruesome descriptions of what happened to their loved ones was given and at one point Kirsty Rushworth, the 21-year-old daughter of Susan Rushworth, walked out of court stopping in front of the dock to shout abuse at her mother's killer.

He has been on a hunger strike in Wakefield Jail but the court heard was medically fit to appear in court.

Robert Smith, QC, prosecuting said police were alerted after the caretaker where Griffiths lived reviewed CCTV footage on May 24 for the previous weekend and saw to his astonishment camera 14 on the corridor outside Griffiths' flat showed him chasing a woman in the early hours of the Saturday. She turned out to be Suzanne Blamires, 36.

She was thrown or fell to the floor and Griffiths then dragged her back towards his flat before going inside and returning with a crossbow which he fired at her.

He then pulled her into the flat before holding the crossbow to the camera and gesturing with his finger.

A short time later he left the building and tried to persuade another prostitute "R" to return with him even though the body of his third victim was in the flat.

Later footage then showed Griffiths leaving on a number of occasions over the next day with various bags and a rucksack containing body parts after he had cut up Miss Blamires in the bath.

He was recorded taking a train from Bradford to Shipley where the rucksack containing her head and other parts was later

recovered from the River Aire along with tools. After his arrest Griffiths said he had killed "loads" of women.

Inquiries revealed a man of his description had been spotted on April 26 with Shelley Armitage, when she was last seen in Bradford.

Following the discovery of Ms Blamires head and other parts in the discarded rucksack in the river her clothes were found in a commercial bin near the flat. A pathologist was able to determine she had been stabbed as well as shot with the crossbow.

Subsequent searches of the river Aire then led to part of Shelley Armitage's spine being recovered. The pathologist could not tell how she had died.

Finally Griffiths admitted killing Susan Rushworth, 42, last year with a hammer in his bedroom. He said there had been a lot of blood which he had cleaned up and it had passed the test when police visited his flat later in 2009 about his sending threatening text messages to an ex.

Mr Smith said forensic tests in the flat showed bloodstains from all three victims. Griffiths admitted cutting them up into small pieces and disposing of them because he did not want a smell.

He also filmed one of his victims bound in the bath probably already dead and disturbing images showed him fondling her feet and bottom.

"The remains of Susan Rushworth have never been found nor has the defendant provided any assistance with a view to recovery or location." Mr Smith said that had added to her family's anguish.

Griffiths said he had no issue against prostitutes and was not "street cleaning like Peter Sutcliffe."

After the case Peter Mann, head of CPS West Yorkshire's complex case unit said: "We cannot begin to understand what drove this cold-hearted and manipulative individual to take three lives in such a brutal and senseless way."

DISORDERED AND DANGEROUS LONER

Loner Stephen Griffiths first had psychiatric assessment when he was only 17, in 1987, at Waddiloves Hospital in Bradford after he slashed a store manager across the face. He was then assessed as having a severe personality disorder.

He was sentenced to three years in youth custody but continued to be seen by doctors and by 1991 a psychiatrist described him as dangerous, being strongly attracted to the idea of killing others.

He was assessed at Rampton Hospital but when it was felt treatment could not alleviate his symptoms he was discharged.

Psychiatrists who have seen him following his arrest for murdering the three prostitutes agree he is a highly dangerous man but not considered to be mentally ill.The judge in the case of triple-killer Stephen Griffiths today allowed reporters to use Twitter from the courtroom.

It is thought to be the first time a judge has allowed this in practice since the Lord Chief Justice issued a direction on the subject yesterday.

As the case in Leeds Crown Court began Mr Justice Openshaw made an order after he was asked by the press about "Tweeting" from court.

In a written direction he said that, subject to normal rules banning photos and sound recording: "The use of live, text-based communications by way of unobtrusive, hand held and virtually noiseless equipment to enable the press to produce fair and accurate reports of the proceedings is permitted, provided that their use does not disturb, disrupt or interfere with the orderly conduct of the proceedings."

The Lord Chief Justice issued an Interim Practice Direction yesterday following the appearance of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange before magistrates in London last week.