Stephen Farrow trial: Police release picture of chilling death threat
Police have released a photo showing the chilling note left pinned to the kitchen table of a couple whose home was burgled by the man accused of murdering Thornbury vicar John Suddards.
Stephen Farrow, 48, has admitted killing the vicar and burgling a nearby home, leaving the death threat note pinned to the kitchen table with a knife.
He is currently on trial at Bristol Crown Court.
Homeless Farrow admits the manslaughter of The Reverend John Suddards in February, but claims diminished responsibility on the grounds of mental disorder.
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He admits that, over last Christmas last year, he burgled Vine Cottage in Thornbury, where the chilling message was left.
But he denies that he went on to murder 77-year-old Betty Yates at her home in Worcestershire in January.
Michael Fitton QC, opening the case for the prosecution, said yesterday that between December 21 last year and January 3 this year a break-in occurred at Vine Cottage, a detached property adjacent to St Mary's Church cemetery.
He told the court the intruder forced a back window and “trashed” the home, leaving items strewn across the floor and stealing jewellery, a gold watch and a Roberts radio.
The burglar even helped himself to food and drink, which they left half eaten on the kitchen table.
Mr Fitton told Bristol Crown Court: “On the kitchen table was a note. It was pinned using two kitchen knives. It was written in a curious, disguised style of squiggly writing.
“It said: ‘Be thankful you did not come back or we would have killed you, Christian scum. I hate God’.”
The court heard the message meant nothing to householders Alan and Margaret Pinder, who had been away for Christmas and New Year and were not overtly religious.
Crime scene investigators detected a boot print from a magazine on the floor, which forensic scientist Patrick O’Shea later linked to Farrow’s footwear.
The jury also heard Farrow may well have left low-level DNA on the handle of the large kitchen knife used to pin down the note.
Mr Fitton said Farrow was arrested in Folkestone on February 19 , and police searched his rucksack and found the radio taken from Vine Cottage.
On March 8 the gold watch stolen from Vine Cottage was found in a bonfire near Beachy Head, where the defendant had camped before his arrest.
The case continues.