It is often said that it’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for. There are people out there that silently give off a certain, unnerving feeling. Usually, once you get to know the person, you find that they’re just like everyone else, perhaps a little more quiet.
But every now and then, that saying turns out to be good advice. As one community in England would find out, it was the quiet, isolated oddball among them that gave good reason to be wary…
Born on Christmas Eve 1969, the first child of Stephen and Moira Griffiths. They named him Stephen after his father, but called him by his middle name, Shaun. His mother liked to joke that the “little lad” hadn’t wanted to wait until Christmas Day. The couple would go on to have two more children, both of whom were typical happy and boisterous kids.
But Shaun was always a little different. His uncle recalled that “As a youngster he was always a bit of a runt. I always thought a strong puff of wind could blow him over,” and that he was “always neatly dressed.” Unlike most kids, he didn’t care much for playing with others, gaining somewhat of a reputation as a loner…
When Shaun was at a young age, his parents divorced and he did not take it well. Shortly after he and his siblings went to live with his mother, Shaun started to exhibit behavioral problems. When he was 17, he started receiving psychiatric help. He felt isolated and abandoned by his family and after he left home at 18, had very little contact with any of them.
Not Going Well
Over the next few years, the young man tried to make a way for himself. Living on his own and trying to deal with his mental and emotional problems wasn’t going well for Griffiths, who began going by his first name, Stephen. He spent a brief period in the high security Rampton mental hospital and in 1987, he received a three-year prison sentence for slashing a store manager in the face…
While in custody for the attack on the store manager, Griffiths received even more psychiatric help. He told his psychiatrists that he had violent urges and believed that if they went unchecked, he would kill someone someday. After his release, he continued to receive psychiatric help and was diagnosed with schizoid psychopathy.
In Trouble Again
But the therapy Griffiths received didn’t appear to be helping enough. In 1991, he was back in prison again. This time Griffiths was serving a 2-year sentence for threatening the life of a woman as he held a knife to her throat…
Turning Life Around
But despite all of his troubles, Griffiths was always intelligent. After he got out of prison, he began to turn his life around, enrolling at the University of Leeds. He even began to develop somewhat of a social life. In the late 90’s he started dating a woman named Zeta Pinder.
Zeta described Griffiths as “charming,” if not a little weird. Among his quirks was a serious phobia of insects crawling into his ears as he slept. He would always stuff his ears with cotton wool to prevent it. One night, when he was staying over at Zeta’s she “didn’t have any [cotton] and he just stayed up all night, he refused to go to bed, wouldn’t lie down, which looking back is really quite bizarre,” she said…
But probably the weirdest thing about him, according to Zeta, was his love of horror movies. It wasn’t strange that he enjoyed them, but rather, it was strange how he enjoyed them. “He’d think they were funny, the really horrible slasher horror films,” Zeta said.”And when somebody got murdered he’d just like laugh his head off and he’d go: ‘Oh great, look at that.’ “
Never At His Place
Over the two years that they were dating, Zeta never went to Griffiths’ home. She assumed that because he was an unemployed university student, he was living with his parents. She was surprised to learn one day that he had an apartment of his own in Bradford, paid for through his welfare and education grants…
When Zeta found out that Griffiths had his own place, she of course wanted to see it. When she stepped through his front door the next day, she was immediately creeped out. “You walked in and on the left-hand side there was a huge bookcase and it was just full of horror books like the Moors murderers and Jack the Ripper, the Yorkshire Ripper,” she said.
“But not just five or six books,” Zeta added, “ literally hundreds of books, and he always had lots of videos… really horrific video nasties.” Griffiths also had a collection of samurai swords on the wall and a crossbow leaning against his TV. When Zeta questioned him about it, Griffiths simply said “I just like stuff like this.” …
Zeta said that was the only time she ever felt scared over the course of their two year relationship. She quickly made up an excuse to leave and, as soon as she got home, called Griffiths to break things off, never seeing him again. Over the following years, Griffiths once again became isolated and developed a reputation as an oddball around Bradford.
Griffiths made a fairly easy target for ridicule, known for hiring prostitutes and walking around in a black trench coat with his pet lizard on a dog leash. Still, things were going OK for him. He was enrolled in the PhD program for criminology at the University of Bradford and was doing fairly well until Monday morning when the caretaker of his apartment complex did a routine check of the security cameras…
On the cameras, Griffiths can be seen walking into his 3rd-floor apartment with a prostitute. Several minutes later, the woman is seen running out of Griffith’s apartment with him in hot pursuit. He knocked her down, walked back to his apartment, then returned with his crossbow in hand. In cold blood, he shot the woman in the head at point blank range, killing her.
Griffiths then dragged her body into his apartment, only to emerge 20 minutes later to wave his crossbow triumphantly over his head and give the middle finger to the camera. He returned a second time moments later to give a toast to the camera with a can of beer.
Over the following day, security cameras caught Griffiths repeatedly leaving his apartment with a number of bags as he disposed of the woman’s dismembered body parts. When the authorities were notified, they quickly moved to arrest Griffiths. When they came into his apartment, Griffiths greeted them by saying “I am Osama Bin Laden.”
Griffiths quickly admitted to killing the woman as well as two other prostitutes who’d recently gone missing. In addition to killing them, he claims to have eaten parts of their bodies. He would provide no motivation, other than saying “Sometimes you kill someone to kill yourself. It is like deep issues inside me.” …
The night before his murder caught on tape, Griffiths posted to his Mypsace under the name Ven Pariah, saying that he had “finally emerged into the world.” He added “What will this pseudo-human do, one wonders. Poor Stephen, pretended to be me, but he was only the wrapping.He knew towards the end, that I supplied the inner core of iron. Hatred Bound Tightly In Flesh. At very long last, the time has come to act out.”…
Locked Up For Good
While he was suspected of killing at least 3 other women, prosecutors couldn’t prove those cases. Those 3 murders would be sufficient, though, to put the “crossbow cannibal” behind bars for the rest of his life. Calling his crimes “wicked and monstrous,’ the judge ended Griffiths’ trial by sentencing him to 3 life sentences without the possibility of parole.