Murder trial begins

12 October 2012

Crime scene: Police and security guards outside the vicarage in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, where the Revd John Suddards was found murdered, in February  (CREDIT: PA)

Crime scene: Police and security guards outside the vicarage in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, where the Revd John Suddards was found murdered, i...

THE trial of the man accused of the murder of the Revd John Suddards (News, 24 February) began at Bristol Crown Court on Wednesday of last week.

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 not religious.

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".

 

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