Night of butchery: Killer was on brink of taking a fourth victim

TRIPLE killer Stephen Griffiths almost added a fourth prostitute to his list of victims only minutes after he had murdered Suzanne Blamires.

More reports and background on Stephen Griffiths

With her body not even cold in his flat he went chatting up another woman, trying to lure her back to his butcher's den.

Identified in court only by the letter R, she was fortunate to escape his clutches.

She told police later that she had seen Ms Blamires on the patch between 2.30 and 3am on May 22 and later that night had been approached by a man who gave the name Steve.

R asked him if he wanted business and he said that he did.

She had not seen him before and he said she was good looking and began talking to her about whether she could get him some crack cocaine.

Robert Smith, QC, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court Griffiths then took her on an indirect route to Holmfield Court.

"It is likely he did that in order to limit the scope for the two of them to be recorded on CCTV cameras."

Outside his block of flats he said he wanted to take photographs of her bum and said he was fascinated by bottoms.

That was entirely consistent with the evidence of another woman with whom Griffiths had had a relationship and digital images recovered from his flat.

He offered R 80 for an hour and said he could pay her for the whole night but then asked her to get some drugs for him.

He told her he did not want dealers in his flat. He told her she would have to be careful when he smoked crack because it made him do daft things like taking his clothes off.

"He then repeated several times that he hates prostitutes and had been ripped off by them in the past.

"He said he had been ripped off by a girl called Blondie, but she had got what he described as her comeuppance."

Griffiths also told R he had been ripped off by another girl called Catherine, but knew where she lived because he had followed her home and she would get hers as well. Fortunately for R she decided to go home to get a pipe to smoke the crack cocaine and told him she did not want him inside.

She watched on CCTV as Griffiths waited outside for her.

She saw him crouch down beside two cars but when she went back out after 10 minutes he had gone.

"What R was unaware of was that the defendant had murdered Suzanne Blamires approximately an hour before he had asked for R to return to his flat with him and that the body of Suzanne Blamires was still lying in the flat."

"Had she entered his flat, it is likely, say the prosecution, that she would have become his next victim."

CCTV footage showed Griffiths and R outside Holmfield Court at 3.35 am. He could be seen trying to persuade R to enter the building with him, which she didn't want to do."

"On the recording there appears to be a disagreement between them, she could be seen speaking on her mobile phone and the two walk off towards the city."

She little realised how close she had come to death.

Griffiths returned home around 4.28am. Less than four hours later he was seen on cctv leaving with a black bag, the first of many over the following hours believed to contain the body parts of Ms Blamires.

Jailing him for life Mr Justice Openshaw said Griffiths had lured the three prostitutes to his flat and killed them.

He had not spoken about his reasons to police or psychiatrists but the prosecution psychiatrist believed he had done it because he liked having power over others. Dismembering and cannibalising his victims afterwards was the ultimate power for him and there was probably an element of sexual gratification as well.

While no remains of Ms Rushworth had been found it was likely she too had suffered the same fate as those who followed her.

The judge said he was satisfied Griffiths had planned the murder of the other prostitute, R.

A police source said the fact Griffiths was targeting a fourth woman so soon begged the question "where would he have stopped."

'Truly appalling crimes'

After the case Peter Mann, head of CPS West Yorkshire's Complex Casework Unit said Griffiths had admitted his guilt when presented with the overwhelming evidence against him.

"Few people in Bradford are likely to forget the horrific events which led to Griffiths being arrested and charged with these murders in May.

"The sentence handed down today reflects the truly appalling nature of his crimes.

"We hope that this result has brought some small measure of comfort to the families of Suzanne, Shelley and Susan who have all suffered a harrowing ordeal as a result of Griffiths' crimes. They are at the forefront of all our minds today."