top_border11

..........

Thornbury vicar murder: Suspect in court over double murder

A scar-faced drifter accused of stabbing the vicar of Thornbury to death was remanded in custody yesterday

Stephen Farrow

Stephen Farrow

A scar-faced drifter accused of stabbing the vicar of Thornbury to death was remanded in custody yesterday after he appeared in court charged with double murder.

Stephen Farrow, 47 – at 6ft 4 inch – towered over his three female prison officers in the dock of North Avon Magistrates Court.

He spoke only to confirm his name as a court clerk read out the charges – including the fatal stabbing of Reverend John Suddards, 59, in his vicarage.

The suspect, dressed in a grey fleece tucked into khaki combat trousers, then raised his eyebrows as the clerk read out the charge relating to the murder of Betty Yates, 77.

Retired teacher Mrs Yates was found beaten with her own walking stick and stabbed in the neck at the foot of her stairs inside her cottage in Bewdley, Worcestershire, last month.

Farrow, who pursed his lips continuously during the five-minute hearing, was also charged with stealing cash, jewellery and a Roberts radio from Vine Cottage in Thornbury.

He was remanded in custody for a bail hearing at Bristol Crown Court today before a preliminary hearing on March 3 and a plea and case management appearance on June 1.

District Judge Joti Bopa Rai told him: “The two charges of murder can only be tried in the crown court, so I am sending your case to the crown court.

“The burglary case, as it is connected, will also go to the crown court. If found guilty of murder you would face a mandatory life sentence.”

The unshaven suspect glanced at the 20-strong watching media as he was handcuffed in the dock by his prison officer and led towards the cells.

Farrow was arrested at an address in Folkestone, Kent, at 4.20am on Sunday after a nationwide appeal for his whereabouts.

The drifter, who confirmed he was of no fixed abode, is accused of killing Mrs Yates at her idyllic cottage along the River Severn between January 1 and 5 this year.

The pensioner, an active member of her community, was found dead in the riverside cottage she had lived in for more than 30 years on January 4.

Tests revealed that the widow of seven years had been beaten with her walking stick before being stabbed in the neck.

Just one month later, Rev John Suddards was found dead from multiple stab wounds at his vicarage in Thornbury, 60 miles away.

Rev Suddards’ body was discovered in a pool of blood in his hallway by two builders who entered the property to carry out planned work at 10.20am on February 14.

The vicar, who had previously spoken at the risks of his job, had served the church for 22 years after leaving work as a barrister in London following a car accident.

Farrow also faces one count of burglary – of the cash, jewellery and radio – relating to Vine Cottage in Thornbury between December 21, 2011 and January 3, 2012.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Today's news and features
Majority of Bristol commuters under 40 leave car behind

Analysing 2011 census data shows that 57% of workers aged under 40 choose to cycle, walk or take public transport to get to work (Read more...)

Will you be looking after your elderly parents?

Health and social care provider says more than a third of people in Bristol would not look after their parents if they were to need full-time care (Read more...)

Massive Attack ‘solidarity’ with Palestinians in Gaza

Meanwhile, protesters could be evicted from their 'occupation' of the lawn outside the BBC Bristol offices today after an eviction notice was served (Read more...)

Bristol News Wire: July 30, 2014

Bringing you a round-up of the top headlines from around Bristol this morning (Read more...)

Employment tribunal fees ‘severely limit access to justice’

Introduction of fees a year ago has "severely limited access to justice" for workers, according to Bristol researchers calling for system to be overha(Read more...)

Bristol food sets its sights on world domination!

As one of the main cultural hubs in the UK, Bristol has long drawn a wide range of dynamic, energetic and passionate people from around the country (Read more...)

Sign up for the Bristol24-7 newsletter

By signing up, you will receive access to news and special offers

It's quick and easy to join... just fill in the form below. Thank you!

Your Name*

Your Email*

Your Postcode area (BS1, BS2 etc)*

What are you most interested in? (You can choose more than one!)*
What's On Food and Drink Business Motoring Travel Special offers 

Bristol247 newsletter