THE trial of the man accused of the murder of the Revd John
24 February) began at Bristol Crown Court on Wednesday of last
Stephen Farrow, aged 48, has admitted the manslaughter of Mr
Suddards, who was Vicar of Thornbury, in Gloucestershire, on the
grounds of diminished responsibility because of his mental state;
he denies murder.
Mr Farrow has also been charged with the murder of Betty Yates,
a retired teacher from Worcestershire found stabbed to death in her
home on 4 January, which he denies.
He has pleaded guilty to a charge of burglary at a property in
Thornton, when a note was left pinned to a table with knives
reading: "Be thankful you did not come back or we would have killed
you Christian scum. I . . . hate God." The prosecution said that
the note "meant nothing" to the owners of the property, who were
Mr Suddards was found dead at his vicarage on 14 February (
News, 17 February). He had suffered multiple stab wounds. The
prosecution told the jury that items intended to "harm the
reputation and memory" of the Vicar had been left surrounding his
body. An open Bible was left on his chest.
The prosecution argued that Mr Farrow "is not insane and knows
the difference between right and wrong".