'Crossbow cannibal' sparks mental health review call
Wednesday 22 December 2010
An MP in the constituency where serial killer Stephen Griffiths dumped body parts has called for a review of how people with personality disorders are dealt with.
Philip Davies said it was "extraordinary" how someone like Griffiths, who psychiatrists said had a long-standing and complex personality disorder, was considered safe to be allowed to live in the community.
The Conservative MP for Shipley was commenting the day after 40-year-old Griffiths was told he would spend the rest of his life in jail after admitting the murders of three prostitutes in Bradford.
Yesterday, Leeds Crown Court heard that Griffiths was known to the authorities and had a string of convictions for possessing weapons and for violence - including slashing a man across the face with a knife.
At one point he spent time at Rampton Special Hospital, in Nottinghamshire, to see whether he would benefit from medical treatment for his problems but it was decided he would not.
The court heard Griffiths had a "substantial history" of being assessed by psychiatrists but the experts said he was not suffering from a mental illness.
Griffiths who referred to himself as the "crossbow cannibal" after the method he used to kill one of his victims, was told he will never be released from prison after carrying out the "wicked and monstrous" crimes.
The former public schoolboy lured sex workers Suzanne Blamires, 36, Shelley Armitage, 31, and Susan Rushworth, 43, to his flat in Bradford where he used knives and power tools to butcher the women in his bath.
The court heard he boasted to police that he cooked body parts and ate some raw.
Mr Davies added: "It does seem extraordinary that someone with his profile was considered safe to be allowed in the community. There does seem to be an issue with regard to people with personality disorders. We need to look at how we deal with people with personality disorders, what treatment we give and what we do with them.
"I think we have to look at this issue again. Everyone is shocked by what he did and was has happened.
"It does seem a perverse situation in that we are waiting for people to commit a crime before we are prepared to do something with them."
Mr Davies said all aspects of "personality disorder in the criminal justice system" needed to be reviewed, including people in prison.
"What this case does show is the status quo is not working," he added.
Griffiths dumped Ms Blamires's dismembered body in the River Aire at Shipley, about five miles from his home in Thornton Road, Bradford.
Police divers eventually found 81 pieces of her.
But only a small fragment of Ms Armitage's body has ever been found.
No trace of Ms Rushworth has ever been found apart from blood splatterings in Griffiths's flat.
Detectives said they had no evidence to link Griffiths with any other unsolved murders or missing persons, but said the next stage of their inquiry was to explore any possible links and to talk to the serial killer.
The court heard how he had undergone psychiatric assessments since he was 17 years old, had a long-standing preoccupation with murder and idolised killers like the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe.
Griffiths even told a probation officer he would kill when aged in his 30s.
But a series of experts said that although he had a personality disorder he did not have a psychotic mental illness.
Griffiths was caught when a caretaker at the flats where he lived saw horrific CCTV footage of Ms Blamires's final moments in May this year. Griffiths shot her in the head with a crossbow.
When he was arrested Griffiths told police "I've killed loads" and claimed he had eaten some of Ms Blamires's flesh, adding: "That's part of the magic".
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