West Yorkshire murder victim ‘may never be found’

Susan Rushworth.
Susan Rushworth.
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It is “extremely unlikely” the body of one of the victims of Crossbow Cannibal Stephen Griffiths will ever be found, her family was told at an inquest today.

Susan Rushworth, 43, was one of three prostitutes killed by student Griffiths at his flat in Bradford.

The dismembered body of Suzanne Blamires, 36, was found in the River Aire, in Shipley, last year along with a small part of Shelley Armitage, 31.

But no trace has ever been found of Miss Rushworth.

Today, at an inquest into her death, Det Ch Insp Mark Ridley, from West Yorkshire Police, told the family: “I think it is extremely unlikely, given the passage of time, that Susan’s body will ever be found.”

Bradford Coroner Roger Whittaker told family members in court - including her mother Christine Thompson and her daughter Kirsty Rushworth - how he was sorry they had to hear this detail.

But Mr Whittaker said it was necessary to enable him to conclude the inquest and record a verdict of unlawful killing.

The coroner explained how he had to get special permission from Justice Secretary Ken Clarke to hold the inquest without a body.

But he explained how he was satisfied, given the evidence he had heard, he knew how Miss Rushworth died.

Leeds Crown Court heard last year heard how Griffiths had admitted killing her.

It was also told how blood splatters linked to her through DNA were found in Griffith’s flat and on his boots.

The coroner said that despite having no body for examination he was satisfied Miss Rushworth died from head injuries.

The hearing heard how Griffiths admitted hitting her with a hammer.

The inquest was told how Miss Rushworth went missing on Monday June 22, 2009.

Mr Whittaker said he was satisfied he could record that she died on or around that date.

Griffiths was sentenced to three life terms and told he will never be released from prison after he admitted the three murders last year.

A court heard how the post-graduate student was caught on CCTV killing Miss Blamires with a crossbow in a corridor in his flat complex on Thornton Road, in Bradford.

Griffiths, now 41, dismembered the bodies in his flat and police found evidence he may have cooked and eaten body parts.

In a statement released through police after the 15- minute long inquest, Miss Rushworth’s family said: “Susan was a much loved daughter, sister, mother, grandma and auntie.

“This is a particularly hard time at the moment as another Mother’s Day approaches where Susan is not with us.

“We have very fond memories of Susan and hold her dear in our hearts.

“Although the inquest is the final part of the judicial process we as a family will never have closure until Susan’s remains are laid to rest with her dad Barry.”