Uncle's shock at Stephen Griffiths' 'horrific' crimes

Joseph Dewhirst
Image caption Mr Dewhirst said Griffiths was "the last person" he would have thought capable of such crimes

The uncle of Stephen Griffiths has spoken of his shock and disbelief at his nephew's "horrific" crimes.

Joseph Dewhirst said he had struggled to understand how the polite and quiet individual he remembered as a boy and teenager had become a serial killer.

Mr Dewhirst told BBC Look North he barely recognised his nephew when he saw pictures of him following his arrest over the deaths of Bradford women Suzanne Blamires, Shelley Armitage and Susan Rushworth.

He said his last memory of Griffiths was as a 17-year-old at his grandmother's house.

Mr Dewhirst, whose sister Moira is Griffiths's mother, said: "He was quiet, just sat in the corner.

"I was actually amazed when I saw it in the press - this huge young man. The last time I remember him being very slim, and quiet.

"To me, he had just totally changed in appearance - I was shocked at the size of him. And even more shocked at what he was accused of."

Mr Dewhirst said the Griffiths he recalled was "the last person in the world" he would have thought capable of carrying out such crimes.

'Shock and horror'

"He had everything going for him.

"[He was] a very bright, good looking little lad. You think 'he's going to crack it, he's got it all'. But what happened in those missing years could be anybody's guess."

Mr Dewhirst said his heart went out to the relatives of Griffiths's victims, whose loved ones had lost their lives as a result of his "horrific" crimes.

"I can only imagine what it must be like to lose a child in those circumstances, it must be horrific."

He said: "I know how I would feel and how most people would - just shock and horror.

"From the boy I knew, he 's a total stranger. I could never visualise him turning out like that. I just find it hard to believe."