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Student of Homicide Charged in Murder of Three Prostitutes

Student of Homicide Charged in Murder of Three Prostitutes

BBC News via YellowBrix

May 28, 2010

LONDON — In a grisly case that British newspapers have compared to the Yorkshire Ripper murders of the 1970s, the police on Thursday charged a 40-year-old man pursuing a Ph.D. in 19th-century homicides with the murders of three women identified by the police as prostitutes.

One victim was caught on closed-circuit television last week being killed with a crossbow shot to the head before her dismembered body was dumped in a nearby river.

The man charged with the killings, Stephen Griffiths, is a former van driver with a psychology degree who was enrolled in a postgraduate course in criminology. The Times of London reported that he had told a neighbor in Bradford, the rundown industrial city in West Yorkshire where he lived until his arrest on Monday, that he was studying for “a Ph.D. in murder and Jack the Ripper,” the pseudonym given to the unidentified serial killer of prostitutes in London’s Whitechapel slum district in the 1880s.


But it was the resonance of another serial murder case involving a man from the Bradford area that helped make the latest killings a newspaper sensation. In a case that terrorized much of northern England and led to years of inquiries about police investigative failures, Peter Sutcliffe, the so-called Yorkshire Ripper, was convicted in 1981 of murdering 13 women, including several prostitutes, and of attempting to murder 7 others.

He was given 20 concurrent life sentences and has been held for nearly 30 years in the Broadmoor high-security psychiatric hospital west of London. After a legal battle to be considered for parole, he was told by officials this year that he would never be released.

With the country’s voracious tabloid papers competing in a frenzy over the latest killings, the police sealed off the third-floor walk-up on the edge of Bradford’s red-light district where Mr. Griffiths lived alone for more than a decade.

Neighbors were quoted in leading British newspapers as calling him an oddball and “a bit of a Goth,” obsessed with prostitutes and given to wearing a long black leather coat and dark glasses. One said he was known as “the lizard man” for his habit of taking his two pet monitor lizards, one of them four feet long, for walks on leashes around the apartment block where he lived, and feeding them captive mice.

The BBC and other news organizations said the police were investigating possible links to the killings of two other prostitutes in the same area of West Yorkshire in the past 20 years, and the disappearance of a third.

Mr. Griffiths was arrested after the police investigating the disappearance of the three women he is accused of killing reviewed closed-circuit video footage from security cameras outside his apartment. The Times of London quoted officers as saying the video showed one of the missing women, Suzanne Blamires, 36, a former nursing trainee who friends said had taken up prostitution to pay for an addiction to drugs and alcohol, being chased down a corridor by a man who knocked her to the ground. Moments later, the officers said, the man returned with a crossbow and shot Ms. Blamires in the head.

These accounts said the video later showed the same man taking several plastic garbage bags away from the property. After Mr. Griffiths was arrested on Monday, parts of Ms. Blamires’s body were found floating in the River Aire near Shipley, a town a few miles north of Bradford, and a woman’s head was found in a rucksack by the riverbank. The bodies of the two other women Mr. Griffiths is charged with murdering, Shelley Armitage, 31, and Susan Rushworth, 43, both said to be friends of Ms. Blamires, have not been found.

The Times said that according to neighbors, Mr. Griffiths was hauled from his apartment by the police and made to lie facedown at gunpoint before being led away, showing no emotion. “As he was taken away, he had the usual cold expression on his face,” one neighbor was quoted as saying. “There was no shock, surprise or emotion. The only thing he was bothered about was the police locking his door properly.”


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  • Grad_08_044_max50

    depgomez

    about 4 years ago

    692 Comments

    He has a PHD in sickness

  • 1226772322_l_max50

    Angelonthewall

    about 4 years ago

    710 Comments

    Good work..Good catch.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 4 years ago

    Two copy cat Jack the Rippers... Glad he was caught.

  • Plmb2s3sk_max600_max50

    s3sk

    about 4 years ago

    3308 Comments

    creepy.

  • 7819_712435661328_26723071_40880744_7213452_n_max50

    Mke_AF_Cop

    about 4 years ago

    436 Comments

    I studied Psychological disorders - and this guy is a text book sociopath -

  • Flags_and_stars_max50

    djs2v

    about 4 years ago

    5628 Comments

    Wow!

  • 45089_396847393722850_1055776862_n_max50

    SuzanneNGa

    about 4 years ago

    16562 Comments

    Sounds like a Jack Ripper copycat! Thanks to modern methods and technologies, just about anyone will get caught.

  • Pot_luck_at_work_max50

    Omarra67

    about 4 years ago

    2284 Comments

    I wonder what makes people like this tick?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 4 years ago

    You know, some people out there are just the human embodiment of evil. Working mental warrants, I swear some people go beyond mental illness...its more like possession.

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