Stephen Griffiths aka "The Crossbow Cannibal" (partially found CCTV footage, dismemberment footage and death photos of Bradford murders; 2009-2010)
Stephen Griffiths after discovering his murder of Suzanne Blamires had been caught on CCTV.
Status: CCTV footage - Partially Found / Dismemberment footage and photos - Lost
Stephen Shaun Griffiths, more commonly known as "The Crossbow Cannibal", murdered three women between June 22nd, 2009, and May 21st, 2010. He had lured the three women, who were all sex workers, back to his apartment in Bradford, West Yorkshire, before proceeding to murder, butcher and eat parts of their body, and then dumping the remaining parts in the River Aire in Shipley. While Griffiths' crimes were already shocking in Britain due to their brutality, the murder of his final victim Suzanne Blamires proved to be the most infamous as it was captured on CCTV. What is less known is that Griffiths also recorded himself via mobile phone butchering his victims and narrating what he was doing, while also taking photos of all three of his victims once they were dead.
Prior to the murders, Griffiths already had a criminal past. At age 17, he stabbed a supermarket manager with a knife, resulting in him being jailed for three years. During his time in custody, he admitted he had interests in becoming a serial killer. In 1992, he was jailed for two years after being found to have put a knife to a girl's throat. The previous year, he was diagnosed as a schizoid psychopath.
Despite this, Griffiths seemingly turned his life around by 2009, but his obsession with serial killers remained, and he even studied for a Ph.D. in homicide studies at the University of Bradford, concerning 19th-century and modern murders. Local police were concerned with Griffiths, believing he was a serial killer in the making. Two years before the murders, his hunting weapons were seized, and he was found to have read books on dismemberment. This led to the police contacting the housing association which owned Griffiths' flat to request better CCTV to help capture any possible incident. They were unable to proceed with sectioning him under the Mental Health Act, due to lack of evidence of possessing signs of psychotic illness, or a treatable mental disorder.
Murder of Susan Rushworth
On June 22nd, 2009, 43-year-old Susan Rushworth disappeared. A mother of three, Rushworth had struggled with addiction to drugs following a brain hemorrhage that caused epilepsy and had become a sex worker to fund her addiction. Her mother Christine stated that in the days leading up to her murder, Susan had begun to turn her life around, reducing her drug addiction and living with Christine. On the day she vanished, Rushworth told her mother that she was seeking to buy medicine. The last known footage of her alive consisted of her getting off a bus.
At some point, she ended up in Griffiths' flat, where she was killed via a crossbow bolt before being dismembered in the bathtub and partially eaten. The key evidence connecting Griffiths to the murder was that traces of Rushworth's blood were found in his flat. However, while it is presumed that Griffiths dumped her remains in the River Aire like his later victims, no remains of Rushworth have ever been accounted for as of the present day.
Murder of Shelley Armitage and Dismemberment Footage
On April 26th, 2010, 31-year-old Shelley Armitage went missing. A former student at St Joseph's College in Bradford, Armitage was known for being popular and good-looking and had aspirations to succeed in a modelling career. However, after she and her best friend began to experiment with drugs, she became addicted and was ultimately unable to escape a life of drink, drugs and sex work. Concern over Armitage began in late April, after she failed to appear in scheduled court sessions twice, as well as not using her mobile phone or claim benefits since her disappearance.
Like with Rushworth, Armitage ended up in Griffiths' flat, where Griffiths proceeded to end her life via a crossbow shot, before dismembering and partially eating her. During the process of butchering Armitage, Griffiths decided to record the dismemberment on his mobile phone, where he discussed in detail what he was doing. He tied her up in the bath, before spraying her back in black paint with the words "My Sex Slave". He then says "I am the Ven Pariah, I am the Bloodbath Artist. Here’s a model who is assisting me.", before dismembering her with knives and power tools.
At some point following the murder, Griffiths ended up losing his phone on a train. It ended up in possession of a few people who were able to view the footage, and the mobile was even sold twice before it was handed over to the police. According to reports, the mobile phone also contained footage of Griffiths' other murders too, with a senior detective describing it as the most disturbing he had ever seen. Griffiths was also found to have taken a photo of Armitage after her murder. Unlike Rushworth, some of Armitage's remains were found floating in the River Aire, providing closure for her relatives.
Murder of Suzanne Blamires and CCTV Footage
On May 21st of that same year, 36-year-old Suzanne Blamires was found unaccounted for. She too had suffered greatly in the years proceeding her death. In 2009, while laying on the streets of Bradford, two men, Jaroslav Balog and Jiri Soukal, repeatedly kicked her in the head and body, resulting in her suffering from numerous injuries. Blamires also faced a drug addiction and was a sex worker to help fund her addiction.
Blamires proved to be Griffiths' last victim, and also his most infamous. He had lured Blamires to his apartment, by pretending to be a photographer. He had done this with Rushworth and Armitage previously, whereby he claimed that he was interested in paying the women to lie on his bed, and have their backsides in the air so that "portraits" for a new art gallery exhibition could be taken. In actuality, the only photos Griffiths was known to have taken consisted of the three women after they were dead, as part of his "trophies collection".
Not long after being in the apartment, Blamires suddenly left and ran down the corridors, with Griffiths in hot pursuit. Ultimately, Griffiths was able to tackle Blamires, before ending her life with a point-blank crossbow bolt to the head. He then began dragging his victim back to his apartment. It was then that he eventually realised that a CCTV camera was in the corridors, and had just captured the entire murder on tape. After dragging Blamires' lifeless body into his flat, he went outside again, and while still wielding his crossbow, flipped the bird directly at the camera. Afterwards, he proceeded to butcher and partially eat his victim, before dumping her body in the River Aire, where some of her remains were recovered.
Potential Fourth Victim and Arrest
Just an hour after killing Blamires, Griffiths searched for a fourth victim. He nearly found one in 28-year-old Rosalyn Edmondson, who was on her way to collect methadone from an all-night chemist not far from his flat. He complimented her and invited her back into his flat. Initially, she walked back with him, with CCTV footage capturing the two outside the block of flats. However, Edmondson had second thoughts, and she decided to walk back to her own flat. Griffiths did not attempt to convince her to change her mind and returned home about an hour after the encounter.
On May 24th, 2010, Peter Gee, who was a caretaker for Holmfield Court where Griffiths resided, went through the CCTV footage and was horrified at its contents. In December that same year, Gee spoke to a local working men's club, stating how distressed he became at what he saw, and had no intentions of going into detail on what was on the tape. He immediately contacted police upon viewing the murder caught on tape, which led to the arrest of Griffiths. Griffiths immediately confessed to the crimes, giving himself the name the "Crossbow Cannibal". On December 21st, Griffiths was convicted of all three murders following him pleading guilty. He was sentenced with a whole life order against him, thus resulting in life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. As of the present day, he is incarcerated in HM Prison Long Lartin in Worcestershire, and has been subject to attacks from other inmates.
Parts of the CCTV footage of Blamires' murder were broadcast on television. One broadcast by NBC News shows video of Griffiths flipping the bird to the camera, as well as trying to convince Edmondson to come inside. But while photos showcasing Blamires entering the flat and later running away, as well as an angry Griffiths chasing after her, the actual footage of these events were never shown. Additionally, NBC News stated they would not show the footage of Griffiths dragging Blamires back into his flat, nor would any footage of the crossbow shots be shown. This appears to be the case with other news broadcasts, likely because of the graphic nature of the murder and out of respect for Blamires and her relatives. Thus, the full CCTV tape, while recovered, will likely never be fully shown to the public.
As for the photos and dismemberment footage, nothing has ever been publicly released. The mobile phone containing the media remains with the British court system. Considering the extremely graphic and disturbing nature of the media, plus out of respect for the victims and their relatives, it means there is an extremely low chance of this media ever leaking to the public.
- Daily Mail reporting on Griffiths' past. Retrieved 09 Sep '21
- Telegraph article reporting on the hunting weapons being seized and police discovering Griffiths read books on dismemberment. Retrieved 09 Sep '21
- Crime and Investigation discussing Griffiths' past. Retrieved 09 Sep '21
- Examiner Live reporting on Susan Rushworth's backstory. Retrieved 09 Sep '21
- BBC News article reporting on Rushworth's blood being found in Griffiths' flat, but that her remains have never been recovered. Retrieved 09 Sep '21
- Telegraph & Argus reporting on Shelly Armitage's backstory and death. Retrieved 09 Sep '21
- Examiner Live reporting on Shelley Armitage's backstory. Retrieved 09 Sep '21
- Crime and Investigation discussing what was on the dismemberment recording. Retrieved 09 Sep '21
- Daily Mirror article reporting on the lost mobile phone containing the dismemberment footage. Retrieved 09 Sep '21
- NBC News reporting on the mobile phone footage and a photo of Armitage post-murder. Retrieved 07 Apr '22
- BBC News article reporting on Shelley Armitage's remains being found in the River Aire. Retrieved 09 Sep '21
- BBC News article reporting on Suzanne Blamires' attackers in 2009. Retrieved 09 Sep '21
- Examiner Live reporting on the murder of Suzanne Blamires and the CCTV footage. Retrieved 09 Sep '21
- Telegraph & Argus reporting on Suzanne Blamires' remains being found in the River Aire. Retrieved 09 Sep '21
- Daily Mail article reporting on Rosalyn Edmondson's encounter with Griffiths, and her walking away being captured on CCTV. Retrieved 09 Sep '21
- Telegraph & Argus reporting on caretaker Peter Gee being horrified at the CCTV footage he viewed, and how he reported it to police. Retrieved 09 Sep '21
- New York Post reporting on Griffiths giving himself the nickname of the "Crossbow Cannibal". Retrieved 09 Sep '21
- BBC News article reporting on Griffiths being sentenced to life in prison. Retrieved 09 Sep '21
- Daily Mirror article reporting on where Griffiths is imprisoned at, and an attack that took place against him in there. Retrieved 09 Sep '21