THE magnitude of Stephen Griffiths's confessed crimes will inevitably open a floodgate of analysis into what drove him to such barbarity and whether he killed anyone else.
Griffiths has a violent past and has a history of poor mental health.
He spent time in Rampton high security hospital in Nottinghamshire in the early 1990s.
As a 17-year-old he was arrested for shoplifting in a supermarket but as he was detained he slashed a security guard's throat with a knife
He was jailed for three years.
In 1989 he was prosecuted for possession of an air pistol but was not jailed. He was ordered to do 100 hours' community service as he had fallen foul of the previous conviction.
In 1991 he received a 24-month sentence at Leeds Crown Court for affray and possession of an offensive weapon.
His girlfriends said he was violent and abused them but were too terrified to testify against him and no charges were brought.
Kathy Hancock told the News of the World newspaper how Griffiths battered and abused her and kept her a virtual prisoner as he controlled every aspect of her life
But despite court orders and twice being put in custody, Griffiths continued to hound his girlfriend, the paper claimed.
Police sources believe his killing spree could have been triggered by his studies.
It is claimed Griffiths's PhD research into serial killers caused him to "flip" and seek out prostitutes.
His method of killing was so gruesome it could have come from a horror movie, using knives and a power tool to cut up the bodies in the bath of his flat.
He made attempts to clean up but blood spots were left in his flat and detectives were able to make a match.
Griffiths also claims to have eaten some of the flesh of his victims.
He told police he cooked pieces of flesh and also ate some raw. Police said it is virtually impossible to verify his claims.
Detectives have not ruled out that Griffiths may have killed more women and are looking for any evidence which links him to other unsolved murders or missing persons. So far they have found no evidence of this.
At first Griffiths co-operated with detectives when he was arrested and confessed to the three murders but he has been silent ever since and now refuses to talk to police.
It is understood Griffiths "revelled" in his notoriety and the status he thought it brought him as a serial killer.
There have even been reports he was unhappy when his macabre story was knocked off the front pages by Cumbrian gunman Derrick Bird.
Police also believe he could have gone on to kill more women before he was caught.
Widespread speculation has appeared in the media about whether Griffiths is responsible for other murders.
Much of the speculation has centred on the cases of Yvonne Fitt, Gemma Simpson and Rebecca Hall.
Ms Fitt was a prostitute who lived in Bradford and Leeds and was found murdered in 1992.
Ms Simpson, from Leeds, has been missing since 2000 but is not a sex worker.
Ms Hall's body was found in the Bradford red light district in 2001.
But senior officers have been adamant they are not linking the murders of Suzanne Blamires, Shelley Armitage and Susan Rushworth to any other missing persons or murder inquiries.
Inevitably, though, detectives across the region and even across the UK who are investigating disappearances will take an interest in the Griffiths case.