Man denies murder of Rev John Suddards in Thornbury
A man yesterday denied the murders of a vicar and a retired teacher.
Stephen Farrow, 47, pleaded not guilty to murdering the Rev John Suddards between February 12 and 15 and Betty Yates between January 1 and 5 during a brief hearing at Bristol Crown Court.
But Farrow, of no fixed address, did admit the unconnected charge of burgling Vine Cottage in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, between December 21 last year and January 3. The defendant entered his pleas via videolink from Long Lartin Prison in Worcestershire, where he has been held in custody since his arrest in Kent on the back of a tip-off following a nationwide manhunt by Avon and Somerset Police.
Balding Farrow, wearing a grey sweatshirt, sat behind a table with his arms folded during the 25-minute hearing, and spoke only to confirm his identity, that he could hear proceedings and to enter his pleas to the three chargesJudge Neil Ford QC, The Recorder of Bristol, remanded Farrow into custody until his trial on October 8 at Bristol Crown Court.
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Mr Suddards, 59, was found stabbed to death at his home in Thornbury on February 14, while Mrs Yates, 77, was stabbed at her cottage in Bewdley, Worcestershire on January 2.
Mr Suddards’s body was found by workers at the vicarage next to St Mary’s Church in Castle Street, where he had taken up the post in July last year.
The former barrister served at St Nicolas Church in Witham, Essex since 2001.
Mrs Yates was found dead at the bottom of the stairs at her home on the banks of the River Severn on January 4.