I'm Crossbow Cannibal, says Ripper suspect

A MATURE student accused of murdering three Yorkshire women dubbed himself "The Crossbow Cannibal" when he appeared in court yesterday.

More on the Bradford killings, with video

Stephen Griffiths, 40, who before his arrest was studying for a PhD into homicides, is charged with the murders of Suzanne Blamires, Susan Rushworth and Shelley Armitage, who all went missing while working as prostitutes in Bradford.

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The former public schoolboy appeared in court twice yesterday, firstly before a district judge at Bradford Magistrates' Court and then a hearing at the city's crown court.

When asked to give his name during the first hearing, Griffiths replied: "The Crossbow Cannibal."

Asked for his address, he looked around the courtroom, scratched his head and replied: "Erm...here, I guess."

Griffiths, who was wearing a black shirt and navy blue jeans, spoke only to confirm his name during the second hearing.

He is charged with murdering Ms Blamires, 36, between May 20 and May 25; murdering Miss Rushworth, 43, between June 22, 2009 and May 25 this year; and murdering Miss Armitage, 31, between April 25 and May 25 this year.

He was remanded in custody and will appear at Bradford Crown Court again on June 7 via video link from Wakefield Prison.

Griffiths had been studying part-time at Bradford University since 2004, carrying out research for a local history PhD thesis with the working title Homicide in Bradford: 1847 to 1899.

The Yorkshire Post understands his research has involved searching through the archives of newspapers and periodicals at Bradford's City Library.

The project would have cost him up to 1,740 a year in course fees although the university has declined to say how the work was funded.

Before starting his study in Bradford's School of Lifelong Learning and Development, it is understood Griffiths had graduated with a degree in psychology at Leeds University.

Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday described the murders as a "terrible shock".