‘Crossbow cannibal’ makes dramatic court appearance

Stephen Griffiths in an undated photograph taken from MySpace on May 27, 2010

Asked his name during his first court appearance, alleged U.K. serial killer Stephen Griffiths replied that he is “the crossbow cannibal.”

The response elicited gasps from the courtroom on Friday, according to reports.

Griffiths was arrested Monday after video surveillance footage of a Bradford, England woman being fatally shot with a crossbow bolt was handed over to police.

Hours later, a tactical squad arrested Griffiths. A report in the Times of London suggested that Griffiths had admitted eating part of his victim.

On Thursday, the 40-year-old criminology student was charged with the murders of three sex workers.

The families of Suzanne Blamires – the woman seen being killed on video – Susan Rushworth and Shelley Armitage were on hand as Griffiths made his first appearance.

He stood in the prisoner’s dock wearing dark jeans and a T-shirt. When asked his name by the court clerk, he replied, “The crossbow cannibal.” Asked his address, he said, “Here. I guess.”

All three women disappeared in the last 11 months. The remains of Rushworth and Armitage have not been recovered.

Griffiths stands accused of killing Blamires, 36, in the early hours of Saturday morning. The video footage – discovered by a horrified apartment superintendent on Monday as he reviewed the weekend’s tape – showed Blamires’s last, horrifying seconds of life.

A man chases her down and disables her in a hallway. He walks back into the frame holding a crossbow and shoots Blamires in the head. Her body is dragged out of frame. Later, the assailant can be seen removing garbage bags and a rucksack from the apartment building.

Dismembered human remains were found in a river roughly 5 km from Blamires’s home on Tuesday. By that point, Griffiths was already in custody.

Bradford was the stalking grounds of Peter Sutcliffe, a truck driver who became infamous as the Yorkshire Ripper for a series of killings in the 1970s. In one of the many overlaps between the two cases, Griffiths is being represented by the law firm of Lumb and MacGill – the same firm that defended Sutcliffe.

Sutcliffe, 63, was convicted of 13 murders in 1981. He remains in prison.

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