POLICE have charged a 47-year-old man, Stephen John Farrow, with the murders of the Vicar of Thornbury, the Revd John Suddards, and Betty Yates.
The police arrested Mr Farrow on 19 February in Folkestone. He is accused of the murder of Mr Suddards between 13 and 14 February (News, 17 February), and the murder of Mrs Yates, a retired teacher, in Bewdley, Worcestershire, between 1 and 5 January. Mr Farrow also faces a charge of burglary relating to a property in Thornbury betwen 21 December and 3 January.
Mr Farrow will appear at North Avon Magistrates Court on 23 February.
The 43-year-old man arrested on 14 February by police investigating Mr Suddards’ death has been released.
Avon and Somerset Police have been working with West Mercia Police to explore potential links between the murders of Mr Suddards and Mrs Yates.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Crisp of Avon and Somerset Police said that information from the public had led to the arrest of Mr Farrow.
Police officers attended a service in St Mary’s, Thornbury, on Sunday. Mr Suddards was found dead in his vicarge on 14 February. His family said last week that there were “devastated with the news of John’s untimely and shocking death”.
On Monday, a late-night vigil was held in his memory. On Monday morning, the Archdeacon of Gloucester, the Ven. Geoffrey Sidaway, said: “In the course of their pastoral work clergy clearly deal with people who are distressed in all kinds of ways and that can make us very vulnerable, but that does not mean we should be closing the doors.”