The Crossbow Cannibal: The Definitive Story of Stephen Griffiths-the Self-Made Serial Killer
In this episode of 'Killers Behind Bars', the best criminal psychologist known to mankind, Professor David Wilson, yet again tries to do what he does best -- figure out if a convicted killer has killed before.
This time though, the killer in question is none other than the crossbow cannibal himself, Stephen Shaun Griffiths. Furthermore, for David to be able carry out this very analytical task, he lavishes this program with stock photography and archival footage, before traveling to
and interviewing a number of people who knew about this schizoid psychopath's
crimes. People such as Former Detectives: John Lee, Graham Weldon, and Peter
Hall. Physiologists: Peter Woods and David Holmes. Geographic Profiler: Sam. Plus
a victim's mother: Nicky Blamires; Stephens' ex-girlfriend: Kathy Hancock; and a
known acquaintance too: Bridgette Farrell.
What now follows is a basic run down of how this show plays out:
Who is Stephen Griffiths? Stephen was the eldest of three children, who at a very early age had a morbid fascination of serial killers and their crimes. In fact, he was so obsessed with this murderous practice, that after he got into some trouble when he was only 17 years old, he studied how to become one himself.
What were his crime? Including a three year period of incarceration at the tender age of 17 -- where Stephen attacked a supermarket manager at his store -- between 2009 and 2012, he also killed three known sex-workers from the city of
Who did he kill?
the 22nd of June, 2009, he killed Susan Rushworth, a 43 year old mother of three; who went missing whilst returning home from a night out.
the 26th of April, 2010, he killed Shelley Armitage, 31; who disappeared in Bradfordafter she had dinner with a close friend.
the 21st of May, 2010, he killed Suzanne Blamires, 36; who mysteriously vanished whilst on an excursion in Bradfordcity center.
What was Stephen's Modus Operandi? (1) All of his victims were known female sex-workers that worked nearby. (2) He killed his victims with a crossbow before meticulously dismembering their dead bodies in his flat. (3) He disposed of their dead remains by putting them into garbage bags and dumping them into the river. (4) He was careful not to leave any DNA at any of the crime scenes.
How was he caught? While he was in the process of killing his third victim -- Suzanne Blamires -- the CCTV operating in his apartment block captured him killing her in the hallway. Thankfully, the security tape in question got into the hand of the local constabulary, resulting in this sadistic killer to be sentenced to life in prison.
Once David has presented his findings to his students, who does Sophie -- a member of his class -- surmise Stephen has also killed? Now there are two people on Sophie's list that needs further scrutiny. The first person is a 19 year old sex worker called Dawn Shields; who disappeared from the streets of
in May, 1994, only to turn up dead in a field located at the Peak District. And
secondly, there is the 21 year old sex-worker called Rebecca Hall; who
disappeared from the streets of Bradford in April, 2001,
only to turn up dead in a car-park near Stephen's flat.
Can David prove Sophie right? In the case of Dawn -- no -- I'm afraid not. There's too much contradictory evidence to prove otherwise. However, in the case of Amy -- yes -- yes there is. Not only did Stephen show the location of where Amy's dead body was discovered to his ex-girlfriend after she had a miscarriage, but in addition to this, it can be proven that he knew her too.
Off the bat, please allow me to apologize for my previous review on 'Killers Behind Bars'. I'm sorry to say that I concentrated more on the structure of the show than the show in itself. Moreover, I was so caught up in wanting to know more about the killer in question, I almost forgot to mention what I thought about the murdering b*stard in the process.
This time though -- no -- I won't have any problem trying to analyse Stephen Griffiths; because I feel that I may know him already. No. Not personally speaking of course. Figuratively speaking. As he's the type of obsessive compulsive nut-job I come across every day whilst blogging, due to his seemingly single-minded and obtuse ways.
Try to imagine if you will. Your every day normal looking 'Joe' off of the street, who likes a particular subject matter so much, that over a period of time he emeses himself into it to such a degree, he doesn't know where he ends and his 'hobby' begins. Yeah. I see it in a few comic book fans or movie buffs here and there, each of them trying their best to be someone else whilst not knowing who they themselves truly are. Furthermore, in some cases this 'character trait' is so predominant, I can't help but feel that there are a lot more Stephen Griffiths out there than I want to believe.
Granted, not all of them go around and commit murder in a very cold and logical manner. Also, I'm sure many of them would think like I do too -- and turn up their noses at this sort of sordid act. But trust me, folks, there out there. In one way or another, there are many of these lonely secluded deranged people that have no idea what to do with their lives, apart from what strives them 'striving on'.
However, it is at this point precisely -- a motive -- which prompts me to pick up on of the only flaws I could find within this episode of 'Killers Behind Bars' -- who was Stephen Griffiths, and how did he come to be?
OK, I have to admit, Professor David Wilson did state in this show that he didn't know who he was either. And that he would have liked to have gotten a bit more back-story on him first, so he could have added some type of 'conceptual origin' to his findings. Do you know what, though, crime fans? I have a gut instinct David would not have found anything of relevance even if he tried. Stephen is the way he is because of he and he alone. There is no 'trigger' or 'big event' which David could have pointed at and said 'Here, this is why Stephen killed those women'.
I'm sure if Steven's obsession was in another area of interest -- like gardening for instance -- he would have been one of those guys named after their own hobby. But in real life he isn't a 'plant man', is he? Thanks to David's efforts, it's now been proven that he's a murderer that has killed four times and not three.
Well done, Dave. To me, that's the main aspect about this show which I truly love -- capturing killers that have killed before. Please may your reign continue, and hopefully I'll see you here next week. TTFN.