Anti-Christian psychopath found guilty of double murder

A homeless drifter who murdered a vicar and a retired teacher has been jailed for the rest of his life.

Stephen Farrow stabbed to death the Rev John Suddards, 59, in Thornbury, near Bristol, and Betty Yates, 77, at her home, in Bewdley, Worcestershire.

The defendant, 48, who Bristol Crown Court heard was obsessed with religion, was convicted by a jury of the murders.

Describing the "horrific" killings, Judge Mr Justice Field told Farrow he had "acted sadistically".

Farrow had admitted the manslaughter of Mr Suddards on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denied his murder. He denied stabbing Mrs Yates.

He had refused to leave his cell for parts of the trial, despite a jury request to attend so they could hear his evidence. However, he was in the dock for the verdicts.

Farrow had been diagnosed with a psychopathic personality disorder and his barrister argued it "substantially affected" his ability to exercise self-control.

'Christian scum'

But by finding him guilty of murder, the jury found he knew what he was doing when he stabbed both victims.

Speaking outside court, Mr Suddards' sister Hilary Bosworth said the deaths had "raised many questions about how things might have been different and what might have been done to avert these tragedies".

She questioned whether the country does enough to ensure psychopaths with a known history of violence are not "left roaming around at large ready to attack someone".

"Do we, as a society, need to think again about how we might better monitor those in the community?" she asked.

Mrs Yates's daughter Hazel Costello said: "For our mother there is now some public justice, but our personal loss remains raw and will continue.

"For us it is important that our mum does not become defined by the brutality of her death but is celebrated for the 77 years of her life."

Farrow had claimed he had been sexually abused at boarding school by a priest, and that he wanted to murder the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The murder of Mr Suddards at his vicarage was the culmination of a two-month reign of terror in which Farrow killed Mrs Yates and threatened to kill "Christian scum".

The trial had heard that Farrow sent a chilling text message to a friend on New Year's Eve last year, warning her that the "Church will be the first to suffer".

'Sadistic killer'

After fatally stabbing Mr Suddards on the night of 13 February, Farrow stayed at his victim's home to watch an Indiana Jones DVD and drink beer.

DNA evidence linked the heavy cannabis user to the murders of Mr Suddards and widow Mrs Yates, who was found dead at her cottage on 4 January, having been killed two days earlier.

Mrs Yates's body was found lying in her hallway with her head resting on a cushion.

She had been beaten with a walking stick and stabbed four times in the head, with the knife still embedded in her neck.

Mr Suddards and Mrs Yates were both killed weeks after a burglary at Vine Cottage, near the vicarage in Thornbury.

Owners Alan and Margaret Pinder spent Christmas and new year away and returned to find a note pinned to a table by two knives, which read: "Be thankful you didn't come back or we would have killed you, Christian scum. I hate God."

Farrow pleaded guilty to the burglary at an earlier hearing.

The judge told Farrow: "I am satisfied that in your case a whole life sentence is an appropriate sentence in each of these dreadful, horrific killings.

"In my judgement, you acted sadistically."


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