British police examine remains in missing women search

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Police investigating the deaths of three women in Britain conducted forensic tests Sunday on remains found in a river as they said a suitcase full of tools had been recovered.

The search team made the discoveries in the River Aire in Shipley, Yorkshire, a short distance from where the body of a prostitute, Suzanne Blamires, was found in the water on Tuesday.

The missing women were all sex workers in nearby Bradford in northern England.

"Officers are continuing to search areas of Bradford city centre and the River Aire throughout the day and are also proactively following several lines of inquiry," a West Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said.

The inquiries will continue throughout the week, she added.

The spokeswoman said tests were being carried out on the remains.

"At this stage it is unclear whether they are human or animal," she said.

"The suitcase which was found yesterday (Saturday) contained tools which are to undergo a full forensic examination."

Criminology student Stephen Griffiths, 40, who dubbed himself the "crossbow cannibal", appeared in court on Friday charged with the murders of Blamires, and two other prostitutes, Shelley Armitage and Susan Rushworth.

Blamires, 36, was last seen last Friday, while Armitage, 31, has been missing since April 26, and Rushworth, 43, disappeared on June 22 last year.

The killings in Bradford have evoked memories of the infamous "Yorkshire Ripper", Peter Sutcliffe, who murdered 13 women in the 1970s.

© 2010 AFP

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