Man arrested on suspicion of murdering prostitutes

A 40-year-old man arrested following the discovery of body parts in a river is being questioned on suspicion of murdering three prostitutes, police said today.

The remains were found in the River Aire, in Shipley, West Yorkshire, at about 2pm yesterday.

West Yorkshire Police said today the man had been arrested on suspicion of murdering Bradford sex workers Suzanne Blamires, 36, from Allerton, Shelley Armitage, 31, also from Allerton, and Susan Rushworth, 43, from the Manningham area.

Ms Blamires, 36, has not been seen since Friday, Ms Armitage has been missing since Monday April 26, and Ms Rushworth was last seen near her home on June 22 last year.

Today, Assistant Chief Constable Jawaid Akhtar said police had been granted extra time to question the 40-year-old man, who was arrested on Monday.

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He said the body parts appeared to be the remains of one woman who had not yet been identified.

At a news conference at the scene, at the junction of Dockfield Road and Otley Road, in Shipley, Mr Akhtar said: “The man is being questioned on suspicion of the murder of Suzanne Blamires, aged 36, who went missing on Friday.

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“He has also been arrested and will be questioned on suspicion of the murder of Shelley Armitage, aged 31, who has been missing since Monday April 26, and the murder of Susan Rushworth, aged 43, who has been mising since Monday 22 June 2009.

Mr Akhtar said: “It is 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.’’

He said the families of the three women were all being supported by police family liaison officers.

West Yorkshire Police launched a poster appeal earlier this month to try to trace Ms Armitage.

The 31-year-old was last seen between the late evening of Monday April 26 and the early morning of the next day in Rebecca Street, in Bradford city centre.

Detectives at the time described Ms Armitage as “a much-loved daughter and sister” and said her family were growing increasingly concerned for her welfare.

Ms Rushworth - known as Sue or Susie - was last seen at midday on June 22 last year, near to her flat on Oak Villas, in the Manningham area.

Police appealing for information at the time said the 43-year-old, who suffered from epilepsy had never been missing before and had been getting help for her heroin addiction when she disappeared.

Ms Rushworth’s 23-year-old son James appealed for information about his mother’s disappearance.

She also had two other children, Kirsty, 20, and nine-year-old Aaron.

Mr Rushworth said at the time: “We are all very worried about her. We’re a close family and we’re not coping well with her disappearance.

“She’d been off heroin for five weeks before she went missing and was getting help for her addiction.

“There is no reason that she would have just left. She’d only recently started seeing her grandchildren and was getting to know them.

Mr Akhtar was speaking in front of the large white forensics tent police erected by the side of the river.

The remains were found in the water just a few yards from where the busy Otley Road dual carriageway crosses the Aire.

Screens were erected on either side of the bridge and forensic work continued in the small industrial estate where the tents have been put up.

Police divers were at the scene yesterday but left the area today.

A number of officers including white-suited forensic teams were still at the scene, behind a car showroom about five miles from Bradford’s red light area.

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