Tuesday 21 December 2010

Stephen Griffiths pleads guilty

The media storm will hopefully soon pass. I have just come off BBC radio Leeds talking about this terrible tragedy for Bradford. It is my hope that our city can put this horor behind us, and the the families of the victims can begin to find some peace. Stephen Griffiths now needs to make sure that details of the whereabouts of all the victims are made clear, as this is hugely important to the family members.

This has been a grisly affair, and I think the authorities have dealt with it as best as could be expected. However, as I learnt from the sex workers last week on the vigil for 'International day against violence to sex workers', there is still not enough being done nationally to protect sex workers from danger. Experiments in Liverpool have shown that it is possible to work to reduce violence towards sex workers, if the political will is there. For the sake of all those trapped in this line of work, we pray that this case will help provide impetus for greater protection for all sex workers in the U.K.

We pray for all the victims of violence towards women, and we pray and demand that more will be done to reduce the risk of this type of incident ever happening again.

Here is how the news was reported in the T&A local paper:

A Bradford criminology student who dubbed himself the “crossbow cannibal” has admitted murdering three prostitutes.
Stephen Griffiths, 40, killed Suzanne Blamires, Shelley Armitage and Susan Rushworth, who all went missing in Bradford.
Griffiths, of Thornton Road, Bradford, pleaded guilty to all three murders at a packed hearing at Leeds Crown Court this morning.
Griffiths stood in the dock to enter his pleas surrounded by five security guards. Dressed in a grey tracksuit, he said “yes” when asked to confirm his name.
He then said “guilty” in a quiet voice when the clerk put each of the three charges to him. Griffiths then sat with his head on his chest.
The judge, Mr Justice Openshaw, told the court the defendant’s mental health had been carefully examined and there was “no question that he was fit to plead”.
Stephen Griffiths's victims worked the streets of Bradford’s red light district a short distance from his flat.
Suzanne Blamires, Shelley Armitage and Susan Rushworth were familiar figures in the network of run-down streets off Sunbridge Road, a two-minute walk from the city centre.
Parts of Miss Blamires’s body were discovered in May in the River Aire at Shipley, about five miles north of Griffiths’s Thornton Road flat.
In the days which followed, more of Miss Blamires was found in the water along with a small part of Miss Armitage’s body. No trace of Miss Rushworth has yet been found.

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