Father's plea to meet serial killer

The tormented father of a victim of Crossbow Cannibal Stephen Griffiths has asked for the chance to see the serial killer in prison to find out what happened to her body.

Daryl Armitage, whose daughter Shelley was one of three women murdered by Griffiths, fears the former Bradford University PhD student will die before revealing where her remains are hidden.

Griffiths, 41, has been on hunger strike in Wakefield Prison for almost three months and has tried several times to kill himself while in custody.

He was told in December that he would remain behind bars for the rest of his life after he admitted murdering and dismembering sex workers Ms Armitage, 31, Susan Rushworth, 43, and Suzanne Blamires, 31, who all touted for business near his flat in Bradford's red light district.

Mr Armitage said he was tormented by the thought that only two parts of his daughter's body had been recovered from the River Aire at Shipley.

Griffiths told police he ate pieces of his victims, but Mr Armitage still believes his daughter's body parts are in the river.

Mr Armitage, who regularly visits the riverbank spot where her remains were found, said: "I do feel there's not long left for him to live and I do not believe this human rights carry-on, where he's saying he's got the right to die.

"We have human rights, what do we have to say about it? Why can't he be kept alive just to give us our answers?

"I can't rest until I know exactly what he's done. I need to know more about what happened to Shelley.

"If I don't find out, it'll be preying on me for the rest of my life. I can't buy a grave because I've only got two pieces of Shelley.

"What happens if something else turns up? I can't move on from here."

Police found 81 pieces of Ms Blamires's body in the Aire, including her mutilated head in a rucksack, but only recovered two tiny body parts belonging to Ms Armitage – a piece of her spine and a section of flesh marked with fine cuts from a knife.

The remains of Ms Rushworth, who went missing almost a year before the other two women, have never been found.

Detectives at West Yorkshire Police have tried repeatedly to interview Griffiths to uncover more information about his crimes, but he has refused to co-operate.

Mr Armitage said he was stuck with "nowhere to turn" unless police give him the chance to visit Griffiths and ask the questions himself.

Griffiths has refused food since November and has swallowed batteries, tried to suffocate himself and slashed his wrist and neck with broken glass in a series of desperate attempts to end his life in prison.

The Yorkshire Post revealed on Thursday that detectives fear he will succeed before they find out the whereabouts of Ms Rushworth's remains and the rest of Ms Armitage's body.

They are also investigating whether Griffiths is responsible for other murders, including the killings of prostitutes Rebecca Hall and Vicky Glass.

He claimed to have killed "loads" when he was arrested in May last year, but detectives are yet to uncover any evidence linking him to other cases.

Reports that detectives have urged Griffiths to make a "dramatic deathbed confession" that he killed missing York University chef Claudia Lawrence have been dismissed as "garbage" by North Yorkshire Police.

"We are still working with him, but he is still maintaining his hunger strike," a senior police source said.

"He has signed a document to say he doesn't want force-feeding and our worry is that we will soon get to a stage where his body will be so damaged that he probably won't respond to our questions.

"We aren't quite at that stage yet. He is compos mentis, but he has said he won't eat food and he wants to waste away."

Griffiths, who was researching a PhD about homicides in Bradford during the 19th century, was arrested after a CCTV camera in his block of flats recorded him killing Ms Blamires with a crossbow.

The footage showed Griffiths and Ms Blamires entering Holmfield Court in Thornton Road in the early hours of Saturday, May 22, heading upstairs and going into the killer's home, flat 33, on the third floor.

Minutes later, Ms Blamires ran back into the corridor, only for Griffiths to give chase, grab her, overpower her and drag her back towards the front door of the flat.

Griffiths picked up a crossbow, pointed it at Ms Blamires's body and fired.

After dragging his victim's lifeless body back into the flat, Griffiths returned to the corridor and, still holding the crossbow, approached the camera lens, raising one finger in contempt.

Griffiths then went out to find a fourth victim, but a sex worker fought him off and escaped as he tried to force her into the building.

Remains buried in child's coffin

All that has been found of Shelley Armitage's body was buried in a child's coffin at her funeral last year.

The 2ft 6in light wood coffin reminded mourners that, although the man responsible for her death is behind bars, many questions in the case remain unanswered.

More than 130 potential crime scenes were scoured by the police during the hunt for clues to how Griffiths murdered his victims.

The search centred on Griffths's flat in Thornton Road, where police found a computer and digital camera containing disturbing images.

One image showed Ms Armitage lying dead in the bath. Another showed an unidentified victim lying bound on the living room floor with green twine as Griffiths touched her bottom.

CCTV footage showed that, after killing Ms Armitage, Griffiths took her dismembered remains out of the flat in bags and took them to Shipley by train.