The Crossbow Cannibal | Stephen Griffiths | Serial Killer Series

 (Stephen Griffiths. Picture credit: Daily Mail)

Welcome back to my blog if you've returned to join me in another instalment of my Serial Killer Series and hello, if you are new to my work. This week the focus has been on the Serial Killer wannabe, the obsessed, crazed and very dangerous Stephen Griffiths. I know he loves having documentaries, books and blogs written about him so having him feature in my Serial Killer Series would amuse him greatly I'm sure (not that he will ever read it, nor would I care if he did). 

The reason he is this week's chosen subject is because I just covered the Peter Manuel case and a subscriber asked me to go a bit further into this case after I briefly mentioned it in my last post. If you happen to follow me on social media you will know that I've spoken of Stephen Griffiths before. In this post I'm going to be talking about his background, the horrific murders, the horrible details that I've never shared before and the facts about the case that are so disturbing that you'll likely not find them in news articles. I aim to be as sensitive as possible with the details. 

I'm not going to lie to you, this case is going to be pretty heavy. I will be talking about human mutilation, dismemberment and animal cruelty and mutilation. It's going to be very disturbing indeed. On looking back over this case this past week, I'd forgotten some of the horrific details and how truly gruesome and sickening the whole thing was. The picture above (as well as the frames that accompany it - taken from CCTV footage) will forever haunt me. Once you know the full story it's impossible to forget. 

So let's take a deep breath and delve into this case...

Stephen Griffiths was a complex character as Serial Killers often are, you never really knew where you stood with him and part of this was because he was a Schizoid Psychopath. If you were to ask anyone who knew him from his university days, before, during or afterwards, you'd get a different response. Some would say that he could be the nicest guy and do anything for you. They'd describe him as a bit of a quiet loner who kept himself to himself. Then there would be others who would say that he could be a horrible, sadistic and manipulative monster who caused nothing but sheer hell to those around him. A ticking time bomb with a dark past that stalked and harassed women. He really was two people in the same body but it was the evil side of his personality that was the one that overshadowed everything. 

So we look to the past to see if there was any red flags with Stephen along the way. He was born Stephen Shaun Griffiths on the Christmas Eve of 1969 in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, England. He was a quiet child, constantly daydreaming and wasn't much of a sociable child but he did his best. His family life was pretty normal, no traumatic experiences or incidents to speak of. The only red flag that seemed to pop up during this time was his obsession with shooting birds. Can you believe to some people that hunting small animals is considered normal? I don't think shooting animals dead for fun, especially as a young child, is normal. So in my opinion this is a red flag from his younger days. 

He was academically gifted and won a place at a grammar school in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. He wore a smart blazer and was described by former classmates as quiet, not really interested in other people but got on with his classwork. When his parents split up he developed a real resentment towards his mother. The details of the marriage breakdown is unknown but what we do know is that he held his mother responsible and this negative attitude and feeling towards her would continue for years to come. He was also quite embarrassed by his mother's behaviour, he didn't agree with how she was enjoying herself as a single woman. His mother was rediscovering her youth and would go out clubbing and act younger than her years, he wasn't happy with that. 

(Stephen Griffiths/school days. Picture credit: Daily Mail)

As his teenage years arrived, the little trickles of potential darkness from the past where beginning to turn into floods. Not satisfied with just shooting birds, he enjoyed pulling the wings off and mutilating them. Later on he reportedly cut the ears and tail off of a puppy. Things soon escalated pretty quickly with two incidences which saw him placed behind bars, at the age of 17, he began stealing and was caught shoplifting by a security guard, he cut the man's throat and neck (luckily the man survived but required quite a number of stitches) and another incident at college where he was paranoid that a group of girls were laughing at him so he held a knife to one of the girl's throats. Whilst in custody he didn't even make any excuses, he simply said that it was his desire to become a Serial Killer. Very alarming words for a teenage boy. He was diagnosed as a Schizoid Psychopath and shockingly, he was released back into the public some time later despite experts warning that a dangerous future lay ahead. 

When he left prison he reportedly cut off all contact with his family, He'd had a series of relationships which never lasted due to him being paranoid, controlling and abusive. 

He soon found himself living in Bradford and had a desire to study Psychology at the University of Bradford. He had piles and piles of criminology and Serial Killer books stacked up in his small apartment along with hunting materials and two crossbows. He was unemployed and lived off of the Government welfare that was given to him to cover his University costs. He became very paranoid about a lot of things as he always had been, especially when it came to his relationships. He became scared to sleep at night because he was convinced that there were insects in his small apartment that were waiting to crawl into his ears and get into his head. He began sleeping with cotton wool in his ears. He also became obsessed with lizards and thought it was a good idea to have one as a pet. 

He reportedly took good care of the lizard, there's a possibility he may have felt some sort of protection from the 'insects' he was paranoid about with having the lizard in the apartment. He was scared of germs too and would cover various surfaces in his apartment with plastic sheeting. When he brought one of his girlfriend's back to his apartment for a coffee, she noticed the books, the state of the place and the plastic sheeting everywhere and it freaked her out, she ended the relationship quickly afterwards. Some of his ex girlfriends were harassed and stalked after daring to break up with him and one in particular, Kathy, went to hell and back for years because of his constant harassment. 

Kathy was originally attracted to Stephen because he seemed to be a bit eccentric, they had a few things in common, music, movies etc. She was impressed with his intelligence and the fact that he was studying Psychology with a focus on Homicide in Victorian Bradford. He was very sweet at first and she liked his style of long hair and black clothes. Things soon turned sour as they always did with Stephen, she moved into his apartment and things quickly went downhill. Kathy was cut off from her family and friends, he would often assault her and if she was to attend a Doctor's appointment or had to leave the apartment for whatever reason, he had to go with her. He wouldn't leave Kathy alone for 5 minutes. 

She would later describe how he could be calm one minute and then totally fly off the handle the next. There were times where he hit her, broke her nose and on another sinister occasion he poisoned her tea. Luckily she survived the poisoning and managed to get away from him but he wasn't going to let her get away so easily. 

For years after their break-up Stephen continued to harass and stalk Kathy. He would turn up at her house and cause damage to the property and write words like 'slut' on her doors. He would continually call her, her friends and family and leave horrible messages. One of the messages on her answer machine was of him laughing, almost in a mechanical way, it makes for very chilling listening and can be found online. 

His reputation around the area in which he lived as well as University, was one of quite an oddball character. He dressed from head to toe in black (which isn't really a big deal but you know how some people are), had long hair and wore sunglasses...even in the pouring rain! At one point he had two lizards and he'd take them out for a walk on leashes, it was quite a surreal sight and one that certainly brought attention.

For someone who preferred to be alone and didn't like people very much, he sure did like to draw attention to himself. 

His neighbours were used to seeing his strange antics and thought of him as just a nice, quiet guy (the same way that Jeffrey Dahmer's neighbours thought about him) who was a bit out there but perfectly harmless. One afternoon he invited his neighbour around for a coffee and he was showing off one of his lizards. He mentioned it was 'feeding time' and to the neighbour's horror, he produced a live rat in front of the lizard. The lizard proceeded to bite the rat in half as Stephen laughed and said ''That's nature for you''. 

As time went on and he became increasingly isolated, Kathy kept herself safely away from him and there was no other outlet for his pent up anger. He started to seek the company of sex workers. The red light district was not that far from his home and it wasn't unusual to see him taking one of these girls back to his third floor apartment late at night. 

Again, his reputation amongst the girls on the street was that he was just a quiet, odd but friendly guy. Some would even consider him a friend. There would be occasions where some of the girls would be invited back to his place for a takeaway meal and a shower, sometimes he gave them money and cigarettes. So if he approached any of the girls they would chat away to him and happily accompany him because nothing sinister had ever happened before. 

What nobody knew was that Stephen Griffiths was a ticking time bomb, He'd been having fantasies for years about murdering someone, he was obsessed with Serial Killers such as Peter Manuel and The Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe. He dreamed of killing more people than Peter Sutcliffe and have books, movies and documentaries made about him. He wanted people to study him for years to come and to be counted alongside the likes of Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer

He knew that in order to try and outdo these Serial Killers he would have do commit the most gruesome crimes imaginable and try to go way beyond what they did.

Alongside the Serial Killer books were now books on Dismemberment. He made a point of being seen reading one of these books and it raised some eyebrows, this together with the hunting weapons caused some alarm and the police began monitoring him. They visited him and removed the weapons but he later purchased more. They still kept an eye on him and his landlord was contacted. There was already CCTV cameras in the building where he lived but they weren't the best but due to concerns of both the landlord and the police they installed properly working cameras to keep an eye on Stephen. The police apparently knew he was a danger but didn't have the power to have him locked up because they felt that they didn't have enough evidence or proof that he could potentially murder someone even though his behaviour and actions were getting more and more sinister. I think the plan was that if they had seen anything too extreme on the CCTV camera footage that they would swoop in an arrest him.

(Some of the weapons from Stephen's apartment that the police confiscated. Picture credit: Daily Mail)

Stephen knew the cameras were there but he didn't care. As he continued to spiral out of control he decided that he wanted to make his fantasy a reality. He was now calling himself 'Van Pariah' and leaving all sorts of crazy ramblings online as well as reviews of various books on Amazon. On the night of the 22nd of June 2009, a 43 year old woman named Susan Rushworth had vanished off the streets of Bradford. She was working in the red light district and had known Stephen Griffiths well, she'd been to his home before and trusted him. It was later discovered that Susan had gone to Stephen's apartment that night and was never seen again. Her body was never found but traces of her blood were found in his home. The horrible murder of Susan (which you can imagine would have been a horrific and terrifying ordeal as well as gruesome) was reported to have been his first killing (of a human being, as we know he had a history of killing animals) but is that the case? He did say later that he had killed more women than he was accused of. 

Not content with the sick and heartless murder of Susan, he struck again on the 26th of April 2010 and lured 31 year old Shelley Armitage back to his cramped apartment. Shelley never left that apartment alive. It's unclear the full events of that night but what we do know is that he recorded Shelley on his phone after he murdered her and would later leave this phone on a busy train in the intentions that someone would see it. 

Anyone who has viewed this horrible video has said that it was so disturbing and very traumatic. Stephen is stood in his bathroom with Shelley's lifeless body in the bathtub behind him, she is hog tied and has the words 'my sex slave' painted on her back. Stephen spoke in the video saying ''I am Van Pariah. I am the bloodbath artist. Here's a model who's assisting me''

Obviously a lot of the details of the video and the gruesome footage has been kept from the public, but we do know that Shelley was dismembered and her remains were thrown into the River Aire. The only remains that were found later was a small piece of her spine which is very heartbreaking and disturbing. 

His (reportedly) last victim who's death was well documented was that of 36 year old, Suzanne Blamires. Susan had also been working in the red light district near to Stephen's home after falling on hard times and turning to drugs. On May the 21st of 2010 her last actions were captured on CCTV cameras both outside and in the outer hallway of Stephen's building and it makes for very chilling viewing. 

The pictures from the actual footage were edited and released to the public. In the pictures we see this poor woman walking into the building with Stephen happily having a conversation with him as I'm sure she had done many times before. Nothing looked sinister until the CCTV camera recorded Suzanne suddenly coming out of Stephen's apartment and running, frantically trying to get away from something and then we see Stephen, the look of evil on his face, carrying a crossbow and proceeding to chase Suzanne down the outer hallway. The horrific murder is not shown in the pictures to the public for obvious reasons but what we do know is that he fired the crossbow straight into Suzanne's head, killing her instantly. He then dragged her body back into the apartment and appeared again some minutes later. He walked right up to the CCTV camera looking pretty pleased with himself and made an obscene finger gesture towards it before returning back inside the apartment.

(CCTV footage from outside Stephen's apartment on the night Suzanne was murdered: Picture credit: Daily Mail)

Nobody was watching the CCTV cameras live that night, the horrific scene would be discovered some time later when a security guard was checking the tapes. What he saw understandably sickened him and he contacted the police.

(Stephen Griffith, outside of his apartment just moments after he murdered Suzanne. Picture credit: Daily Mail

In that apartment after he murdered Suzanne, the evil monster known as Stephen Griffiths was continuing to carry out his sick fantasies in his wannabe role as a Serial Killer. He spent all night dismembering Suzanne's body into 81 pieces and wrapping the remains up in bags. He later claimed that he cooked and ate pieces of her body but some people believe that he just said that for more of a shock factor. DNA of his victims was found in his kitchen so it is unclear whether he handled and cooked their remains in there or he just had some of their DNA on his hands and this transferred onto items in the kitchen. Whatever the case, everything else was bad enough. 

I also wanted to mention here that on the horrible night of Suzanne Blamire's death, before he dismembered her body, he actually left his apartment and tried to lure another sex worker to his home but she refused to go with him. 

(Stephen Griffiths outside of his apartment just minutes after murdering Suzanne. He is seen here, trying to lure another sex worker to his apartment but she felt that something was off about him so she left. Picture credit: Daily Mail)

He placed Suzanne's decapitated head in a rucksack. Her head still had the crossbow embedded in it. He had the audacity to take bags carrying Suzanne's remains on public transport and disposed of them again in the River Aire. As he was carrying his rucksack out of his house which contained Suzanne's head, a neighbour stopped him and asked how he was doing and noticed a strong, putrid smell. Stephen explained that one of his lizard's had died and he was just taking it somewhere to bury it. 

It wasn't long for the police to come knocking on Stephen's door and this time they were armed. Just days after he murdered, dismembered and disposed of Suzanne's remains, the police had come to arrest him on the 24th of May 2010. 

The police vans were everywhere, armed cops were on the scene, everyone was expecting some sort of shoot out but Stephen Griffiths just responded to the knock on the door with ''I'm Osama Bin Laden''

Without a fuss, a struggle or a word said, he calmly allowed himself to be handcuffed and placed straight into the police car. His neighbours stood watching in confusion wondering what was going on, why were they arresting quiet, well mannered Stephen? It must have been quite a traumatic and sickening moment when they realised what had been going on just a few feet away from them. The whole time this sadistic monster was living in the same building as they were and the reality of the nightmarish things that he did. 

Once in custody he acted polite but unbothered about the whole situation, not a care in the world or a shred of remorse. He was charged with all three murders of Susan Rushworth, Shelley Armitage and Suzanne Blamires. He even told officers ''I've killed loads'' but wouldn't go into details, playing the 'I know something you don't know' routine. 

(The known victims of Stephen Griffiths: Shelley Armitage, Susan Rushworth & Suzanne Blamires. Picture credit: Daily Mail)

In this horrendous situation he seemed to be enjoying himself knowing that his name was in the newspapers and on TV, this is what he wanted, what he fantasised about for years and suddenly here he was. He made it a point of admitting that he killed the three women (and more, he claimed) because it was so important for him to be classed as a Serial Killer. 

At his first appearance in court he knew that everybody would be waiting to see if he had anything to say, he loved the attention and when asked what his name was as he stood in the dock (knowing it would cause newspaper headlines) he responded ''I am the crossbow cannibal'' 

This was even more shocking because at that point the public knew he was a murderer but they didn't know that he had (or claimed that he had) eaten parts of his victims. Like I said before, nobody knows if he really did eat human remains or he was just saying that to add more attention for himself. 

He had his trial and was found guilty of all three murders and was deemed so dangerous that the judge sentenced him to a whole life order, meaning he will never leave prison alive. 

He never showed an ounce of remorse for his victims or their families. At one point during a court appearance he actually turned to his victim's relatives and said ''What are you looking at?''. 

The police further questioned him about these other alleged murders he claimed to have committed but all he would ever respond with is ''No comment''. Maybe he was just playing games with the cops and didn't have any information about any further murders? Maybe he just wanted the attention to continue? 

I remember following the case at the time and how quickly the story vanished from the newspapers. I can't remember what was going on at the time but another huge event had happened in 2010 and suddenly Stephen Griffiths was booted of the front pages. He was so quickly forgotten about. 

What he had done was horrendous but the public's attitude was that he was just an evil, pathetic little man who wanted 15 minutes of fame and they didn't want to give him the satisfaction of giving it to him. 

I couldn't believe how quickly he vanished off of the newspaper pages, literally within days. He obviously wasn't happy about this, it all didn't go to plan. He was supposed to have all of this attention and be treated almost like a celebrity like some of the other killers he was obsessed with. He watched for years how movies, books and interviewers had obsessed over the likes of Ted Bundy and Peter Sutcliffe and now here he was, stuck in a cell and nobody was interested.

He made a few attempts to get back into the public eye again by having hunger strikes and attempting suicide but again, nobody cared, I don't think it even made a little corner column of the newspapers. 

For a long time, people forgot about Stephen Griffiths, the so-called Crossbow Cannibal killer but due to the popularity of true crime in recent years, he pops up briefly here and there on the odd documentary but nowhere near the likes of his 'Idols'. People don't spend a great deal of time on him, I'm only writing about him because a subscriber asked me to and because as always, I want to tell the victims stories. 

Stephen Griffiths didn't just murder, mutilated and dismember these poor women, he caused absolute hell to anyone who crossed his path. The ex girlfriends have been traumatised for life (especially Kathy who he stalked for years) not only because he was the boyfriend from hell but to learn of what he did afterwards, that could have been them. It's frightening to think about. 

RIP to Suzanne, Shelley, Susan and any other possible unknown deceased victims of Stephen Griffiths. My thoughts also go out to Kathy and all of the other women he stalked, harmed and harassed. It is a miracle that Kathy and the survivors were able to live to tell the tale. I'm also thinking of the woman who Stephen tried to lure into his apartment on the night of Suzanne's death. Just minutes after brutally killing Suzanne he was back on the street looking for another victim, I can't imagine how that lady must feel to this day, to have come so close to harm. Luckily she got away and I hope wherever she is now that things took a more positive turn for her and for all of Stephen's living victims and their families. 

Further Reading & Sources:

Serial Killers & The Phenomenon of Serial Murder | Textbook by Prof David Wilson

The Big Book of Serial Killers | Book by Jack Rosewood

The Big Book of Serial Killers: Volume 2 | Book by Jack Rosewood

The Crossbow Cannibal | Book by Cyril Dixon

Stephen Griffiths | Crime & Investigation

Bradford Murders | Wikipedia

Stephen Griffiths | Wikipedia

Stephen Griffiths | Murderpedia

Stephen Griffiths: Article | The Mirror

Stephen Griffiths | Born To Kill Documentary

Stephen Griffiths | Crimes That Shook Britain, Documentary

Thank you so much for joining me in this disturbing post, I know the details were pretty hard to take and I appreciate you sticking with me through to the end. I will be back again with another instalment (my 8th) in my Serial Killer Series, I hope you will join me then and I also hope to see you on my Socials

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