UK police announce arrest of suspected serial killer

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

West Yorkshire and surrounding area map

Police in the United Kingdom have arrested a 40-year-old man on suspicion of being a serial killer. The man is being questioned over the death of one prostitute and the disappearances of two others in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England.

The man was arrested on Monday after 36-year-old Suzanne Blamires vanished on Sunday. Body parts believed to be hers were found floating in a river yesterday afternoon, and police today announced they were questioning a man on suspicion of her murder and that of two missing prostitutes.

The man, who lives in Bradford's red-light district, is facing questioning over the April 26 disappearance of Shelley Armitage, 31, and the June 2009 disappearance of Susan Rushworth, 43. This morning a magistrate granted West Yorkshire Police extra time to question the man, which will expire tomorrow evening.

Rushworth was last seen on a double-decker bus heading to Thornton Road. She had three children, was addicted to heroin and suffered from epilepsy. Armitage was last seen on CCTV in the red-light district. She lived just three streets from Blamires and the two knew each other. Blamire's suspected remains were found in the River Aire in nearby Shipley by a member of public at 2:00 p.m.

River Aire in West Yorkshire

The area is being examined by forensics experts, crime officers and police divers. West Yorksire Police's homicide and major enquiries team is conducting the investigation. Police dogs have been used to search a drainage culvert and undergrowth on Thornton Road, and black bags from skips behind nearby halls of residence have been examined. Members of the police underwater search unit were also at work. Previously, separate searches have been held for Rushworth and Armitage.

Assistant Chief Constable Jawaid Akhtar said the remains from the river are of a single unidentified woman. He said that all three women's families are being assisted by family liaison officers. Speaking at an on-scene press conference at the junction between Dockfield Road and Otley Road in Shipley, he described the investigation as "a very thorough and painstaking inquiry into three missing women, all of them sex workers, with all the necessary resources and expertise devoted to it."

Some British media has compared the case to the serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, often referred to as the Yorkshire Ripper. Sutcliffe lived in Bradford and killed three of his thirteen victims there; he also attempted to murder seven more people before his 1981 conviction. Most of his victims were prostitutes.