< Back to Files

The Crossbow Cannibal

Stephen Griffiths
More

Stephen Griffiths starts 2009 with a conviction in January for harassment. He’ll end it as a murderer.
SUSAN RUSHWORTH
Susan Rushworth is at 43, already a grandmother, a heroin addict, and a prostitute. She’s been selling her body on the streets for the last three years to fund her drug habit.
But her life could have been so different. Her brother, Paul, remembers Susan and him having a happy childhood growing up in the country. She married in her early 20s, has children and life is good. And even after they separate, she finds love again, and starts another family. When, however, this relationship breaks down, one of the new men in her life introduces her, aged 35, to heroin.
And so her concerned mother, Christine, pays for rehab. It works: But only for a few months. And so begins a cycle of creeping addiction and cleaning out.
It’s the day after Father’s Day, Monday 22 June 2009. Susan leaves her mum’s at 1pm. She takes a mobile phone with her saying she’ll be gone for a few hours. She goes to the chemist and picks up her prescription of methadone as part of her latest attempt to break her addiction.
But when her mother calls, no one answers the mobile.
And Susan, despite her lifestyle, always kept in contact with her mum. Christine rings the police. Missing posters go up and TV appeals are made by Susan’s son. The police interview potential witnesses such as the local drug dealers and men known to use prostitutes. They comb nearby woodland and drain a local lake.
But her bank cards haven’t been used since the day she disappeared.
Her brother Paul starts his own inquiries and one of the prostitutes he talks to is Shelley Armitage.

SHELLEY ARMITAGE
Shelley Armitage was a ‘bubbly’ girl who went to Catholic school. Holiday photos taken on a beach show a carefree child. She grows up wanting to be a model that travels the world.
Aged 31, she’s a prostitute that walks up and down Thornton Road in Bradford.
She first became a heroin addict at just 16.
On 26 April 2010, around lunchtime, Shelley bumps into her father and mother out shopping. They chat. It’s the last conversation they’ll ever have with their daughter.
When she doesn’t return to her boyfriend, Craig, in the evening, the police are called.
Shelley never turns up for her social security payment.
The police release CCTV footage of Shelley on the streets of Bradford hoping to jog memories.
For the second time in less than 12 months, police and family comb the area for a missing loved one.
SUZANNE BLAMIRES
Suzanne Blamires is Bradford born and bred. Photos of her childhood and teenage years capture her attractiveness, confidence and cheekiness. She began training as a nurse. But when she starts going to raves, she starts taking recreational drugs. Around 21 years old, she discovers heroin. By 25, she’s starts sex working to pay for it. When her mother, Nicky, confronts her, Suzanne confesses everything. But it doesn’t stop her ‘merry-go-round’ of scoring, sleeping, and selling herself for her next hit. Her street name is ‘Amber’.
On 21 May 2010 Nicky drops Suzanne, now aged 36, off at her flat early in the morning. But, unusually, Suzanne never rings her mum that evening. On Saturday, at about 4pm, her boyfriend, Gregg, knocks on Nicky’s door asking if she’s seen Suzanne. Nicky knows instantly something is wrong. The police are called.
But ‘Amber’ has met ‘Ven Pariah’.