Crossbow Cannibal police find suitcase of tools

POLICE searching for body parts of two missing prostitutes revealed today that a black suitcase they found underwater contained tools.

More on the Bradford killings, with video

Forensic tests were being carried out on what could be human remains recovered yesterday from the River Aire in Shipley, West Yorkshire, a short distance from where other parts of prostitute Suzanne Blamires had been dumped.

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Criminology student Stephen Griffiths, 40, who dubbed himself the "crossbow cannibal", appeared in court on Friday charged with the murders of Ms Blamires, Shelley Armitage and Susan Rushworth, who all went missing in Bradford.

A West Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: "Officers are continuing to search areas of Bradford city centre and the River Aire throughout the day and are also proactively following several lines of inquiry.

"This will continue throughout the Bank Holiday and into next week."

She said tests on what was found yesterday were continuing.

"At this stage it is unclear whether they are human or animal," the spokeswoman said.

"The suitcase which was found yesterday contained tools which are to undergo a full forensic examination."

Ms Blamires, 36, was last seen last Friday, while Ms Armitage, 31, has been missing since Monday April 26, and Ms Rushworth, 43, disappeared on June 22 last year.

On the banks of the river yesterday, two police tents and a police van were sectioned off from the road by police tape.

From one point on Otley Road a handful of floral tributes tied to railings next to the fast-moving river could be seen.

When he was asked for his name at Bradford Magistrates' Court, Griffiths replied: "The crossbow cannibal."

Asked for his address, the suspect, who was wearing a black shirt and navy blue jeans, replied: "Erm ... here I guess."

Relatives of some of the victims were in court for the hearing.

Four hours later, Griffiths made his second appearance of the day at Bradford Crown Court. He spoke only to confirm his full name.

Griffiths 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.

A psychology graduate who was doing postgraduate research in criminology at Bradford University, he was arrested on Monday at his home on the edge of Bradford's red-light district.

Griffiths lived in the flats for about 13 years. He attended the private Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Wakefield in his teens.

An excavation was taking place in Thornton Road, along with numerous other searches across the city using police, forensic officers and specially trained dogs.

Griffiths will appear before Bradford Crown Court again on June 7 via video link from Wakefield Prison.