Briton in court over killing of three prostitutes

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A 40-year-old British man appeared in court on Friday charged with murdering three prostitutes in northern England, a prosecutor said.

Stephen Griffiths is accused of killing Suzanne Blamires, 36, who went missing last Friday, Shelley Armitage, 31, has been missing since last month, and Susan Rushworth, 43, disappeared last June.

He made a brief appearance at Bradford Magistrates' Court, before being remanded to appear at the city's Crown Court later in the day.

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

The remains of Blamires were found in a river on Tuesday. The bodies of the other two women have not been found.

Blamires's mother, Nicky Blamires, described her daughter as "bright and articulate", adding: "Unfortunately my daughter went down the wrong path and she did not have the life she was meant to have.

"She was a much-loved daughter, sister and niece and what has happened to her will haunt me to the day I die."

Sutcliffe, jailed for life in 1981 for killing 13 women and the attempted murder of seven, began a judicial bid to be freed in March. The 63-year-old is being held at the high-security Broadmoor Hospital, west of London.

In 2008 a forklift truck driver, Steve Wright, was convicted of the murders of five prostitutes in Ipswich, eastern England, two years earlier.

Under British law, from the point that a suspect is charged with an offence, nothing can be published which could affect the judgement of the trial jury.

© 2010 AFP

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