England

Police continue to search Bradford for missing women

Officers have begun searching a Bradford park for the remains of two missing women.

Stephen Griffiths, 40, who is suspected of murdering them and a third woman, gave his name as "the crossbow cannibal" when he appeared in court.

The remains of Suzanne Blamires have been found, but Susan Rushworth and Shelley Armitage are unaccounted for. All three were sex workers.

Officers are searching Lister Park, near where Ms Rushworth was last seen.

Police are conducting fingertip searches and using sniffer dogs trained to find human remains.

Image caption Stephen Griffiths was arrested at his home on Monday

Ms Armitage, from the Allerton area of Bradford, was last seen on 26 April and Ms Rushworth, of Manningham, disappeared on 22 June last year.

On Friday morning Mr Griffiths, of Thornton Road, Bradford, appeared at the city's magistrates' court and later at the crown court.

He is charged with murdering Ms Rushworth, 43, Ms Armitage, 31, and Ms Blamires, 36.

Body parts belonging to Ms Blamires were discovered in the River Aire at Shipley on Tuesday.

Forensic work is continuing around Mr Griffiths' flat and further searches of the River Aire near Shipley have taken place.

Officers from West Yorkshire Police have also been searching around the city's red light district.

Many streets and alleyways in the Sunbridge Road area remain sealed off and detectives have been seen taking a large number of objects away in plastic bags.

Decriminalising prostitution

West Yorkshire Police said the case had come as "a huge shock" to its vice team.

Supt Angela Williams said: "It's easy to forget that every woman involved in prostitution didn't start out that way.

"They all have families, personal stories and often personal tragedies which have led them to where they are today."

She said the officers of the vice team had "a passionate commitment" to helping women get out of the "vicious circle of sex work".

Prime Minister David Cameron told BBC Look North in Leeds that the decriminalisation of prostitution should be "looked at again" in the wake of the situation in Bradford.

He said: "I dare say it should be looked at again. I don't think we should jump to conclusions on this, there are all sorts of problems that decriminalisation would bring."

He also called for a clamp-down on kerb crawling.

Meanwhile, officers investigating the disappearance of York woman Claudia Lawrence have said they will be working with West Yorkshire Police to investigate any potential link with the alleged Bradford murders.

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