Stephen Farrow Trial: "Church will be first to suffer"
A MAN accused of the murder of a Thornbury vicar sent a text message to a friend warning her to watch the news as the "church will be the first to suffer."
Stephen Farrow claimed to be abused by a priest while at boarding school and told a the woman, who had rejected him, she would soon know how disturbed he was.
Farrow was arrested for the murder of the Reverend John Suddards and told police surgeon Naveed Tippu he had been physically and mentally abused by a priest aged 11, Bristol Crown Court heard.
He also vowed to unrequited love Michaela Rowsell that her spurning of him would cause him to reveal his true self, and how he had "already started his work."
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Drifter Farrow, 48, admits that, over last Christmas last year, he burgled Vine Cottage in Thornbury.
But he denies that he went on to murder 77-year-old Betty Yates at her home in Worcestershire in January.
Though he admits manslaughter of Rev Suddards, he denies murdering the cleric at his vicarage in February.
Reverend Andrew Evans told the jury he met Farrow at St Mary's Church, Bridport, and Farrow had lied to him about being a support worker and Unitarian church employee.
Rev Andrews said: "I always saw him at the rectory. He would stay 25 to 30 minutes. We would have a chat about the weather, about what he had been doing and his plans.
"He would bring up religion. He would often become very assertive and aggressive in his attitude to the church."
Rev Andrews said Farrow believed the church should give him money, but it was church policy not to give him any.
He told the jury Farrow would come and go and sometimes live rough, and other homeless people were scared of him.
Michaela Rowsell said she became acquainted with Farrow when helping homeless people via her evangelical church in Bridport.
She said she was aware Farrow "fancied" her, but their relationship remained platonic.
Mrs Rowsell recounted a time when she prepared a roast dinner for Farrow and other men, and Farrow's mood darkened after he claimed to be given less food.
She told the jury she stored his mobile phone numbers under Steve Mad 1 and Steve Mad 2.
"I thought he was mad," she said.
"He dealt with church people pretty disgustingly. I would say he used and abused them."
Mrs Rowsell said Farrow would call her "Piggy" and she felt obliged to call him "Kermit", after the Muppet Show characters.
She said that, after he left Bridport, he sent her texts saying he loved and missed her, but she didn't feel the same way and didn't reply sometimes.
It was New Year's Eve last year, she said when Farrow texted her: "Piggy, please answer, even though it's all gone wrong for me. You've been good to me for so long.
"I am sorry for all I have said and done. Please talk to me, I am a long way from you. I want you to make me happy by saying something. If not, Happy New Year."
Mrs Rowsell said, shortly after, Farrow texted her saying she had never cared for him adding "As you reject me you will suffer."
The text continued: "I will be just round the corner. You will never know when I will be there. I've already started my work and won't stop until I'm caught.
"You don't and never will know just how disturbed I am. You will soon know the truth and the church will be the first to suffer. It was always going to end like this.
"I'm surprised the police have not been to see you, but they soon will."
Farrow then aimed an expletive at her, "the church and the system."
He added: "You can all go to hell. Watch the news, Piggy, because you will all know it is me."
Tina Wilkes told the court she met Farrow through her son and Farrow would call at her Folkestone home.
She described how she and son saw Farrow was a wanted man, and when Farrow called at her home she managed to nip out and call her son and the police.
She said that she kept him talking for some four hours before police came and arrested him.
"He talked about the church and Christians. He said he was abused when he was younger. I got the impression it was someone at the church or a church member," she said.
Farrow told police surgeon Dr Tippu he was physically and mentally by a priest at boarding school when aged 11.
Dr Jane Boskovic said she examined Farrow and he was in a fit state to be detained, interviewed and charged.
She said she queried if he had Severe Dangerous Personality Disorder (SDPD) and noted that, while in prison in 2001, he said he had been diagnosed with cancer lymphoma but had not seen a doctor since.
The trial continues.