Series 2 - Episode 2: Stephen Griffiths - The Crossbow Cannibal

Killers Behind Bars

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Professor David Wilson looks into the case of another of Britain's modern serial killers, as this chilling series continues. This week, he investigates the gruesome crimes and twisted mind of the former criminology student Stephen Griffiths, the self-dubbed Crossbow Cannibal.

Meeting some of the country's leading crime experts along the way and putting his own cutting-edge theories to the test, he asks when Griffiths's killing cycle began and whether he was responsible for more deaths than those that we already know about.

Griffiths shocked the nation when he admitting to killing, dismembering and eating parts of three women between 2009 and 2010. There had been indications, however, that Griffiths had an interest in serial killing from a very young age. His criminal history includes a three-year sentence when he was 17 for an unprovoked knife attack on a supermarket manager. While he was in custody psychiatrists warned that he had confessed to fantasies about becoming a serial killer.

In 1991, he was diagnosed a schizoid psychopath and the following year received a two-year prison sentence for holding a knife to a girl's throat. In 2009, Griffiths enrolled into the University of
Bradford to study for a PhD in homicide studies.

In May 2010, evidence came to light that he was doing more than just studying murder. A caretaker in the block of flats in Bradford where Griffiths lived discovered shocking CCTV footage of Suzanne Blamires being beaten by a man, who then fired a crossbow arrow into her skull.

When arrested, Griffiths admitted to killing another two sex workers – Susan Rushworth and Shelley Armitage. He told detectives that he ate the flesh of all three victims, adding: "That's part of the magic." Holding up five fingers, he also bragged: "I have killed a lot more."

Professor Wilson uses this as a starting point to investigate whether Griffiths has committed other hideous crimes. With the help of his criminology students, he immediately homes in on two unsolved murders of prostitutes that bear Griffiths's chilling hallmarks.



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Comments (11)

  • vicsane

    3 months ago


    Dont use the pause, rewind or fast-forward button - it simply stops and the screen goes blank. Although you may be treated to the adverts before the screen freezes.

  • Tom

    3 months ago


    I love this show, and I have followed, and am a huge fan of David Wilson BUT I have to point out one flaw I noticed in this program. Around the 11 minute mark he comments on the killer appearing with no gloves then putting gloves on BEFORE the killing for FORENSIC benefits BUT, the killer is wearing fingerless gloves meaning it is more of a cosmetic gesture than one aimed at keeping evidence to a minimum. Now, I'm not going to develop a whole new theory based on one minute factor but I'm surprised the prof. missed out on that fact.

  • Rach

    1 year ago


    Some of these comments are ridiculous! You think someone who's investing their life in this field doesn't care about the victims? Oh dear, go rinse your brains out.

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  • Patrick

    1 year ago


    Jane, you obviously have no idea what you are talking about. Much of David Wilson's academic work is an attempt to shift emphasis away from the serial killer and onto the victims of serial killers.

  • quirce

    1 year ago


    I believe the programme is about the serial killers. the victims should be just mentioned.

  • Adrienne

    1 year ago


    Every person brought into a police station would be guilty going by the self serving logic of the people who profit from 'collaring criminals by using such disgusting logic of 'done it many times before'. The presenter never uses the word 'sometimes', if he did and stopped talking smack in generalities. He's an shame on the word justice.

  • Lou

    1 year ago


    He his doing his job, and a great one at that

  • Ellie

    1 year ago


    I know David Wilson and I think you are being a bit unfair on him. The victim's parents would not speak to him if he didn't care. He does care about victims.

  • Martyn Must

    1 year ago

    Martyn Must

    How to make a 30 minute program last 60 minutes - say everything two or three times. Prof. David Wilson seems to think his audience are dunderheads without the memory to recall what was said just minutes beforehand. All presentation but little substance.

  • jane

    1 year ago


    Self-indulgent and sensationalist programme-making. Prof david wilson's "faux-expertism", along with his overly-emphatic and excitable presentation, is creepy and patronising. No respect shown for the women murdered :-(