Vicar's killer left chilling note at home he burgled
THIS photograph shows the chilling message alleged double murderer Stephen Farrow left at a burglary just weeks before he stabbed a Thornbury vicar to death.
The note, scrawled in red ink, and pinned down with two knives, reads: "It's a good job you didn't come back. We would have killed you, Christian scum. I hate God."
A jury at Bristol Crown Court has been shown the photo, and told Farrow left tell-tale signs including his DNA at three crime scenes – the burglary, the vicarage where Rev John Suddards was found dead, and the home of Worcester pensioner Betty Yates, who he is also accused of killing.
Farrow admits plundering possessions from Vine Cottage, Thornbury, where the sinister note was pinned to the kitchen table.
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Part samples of his DNA were found on both blades, though not comprehensive enough for police to immediately pinpoint the offender from a nationwide database.
Drifter Farrow, 48, admits that, over last Christmas last year, he burgled Vine Cottage in Thornbury, where the macabre message was left. But he denies that he went on to murder 77-year-old Mrs Yates at her home in Worcestershire in January.
He admits the manslaughter of 59-year-old Rev Suddards at his Thornbury vicarage in February but denies murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
On day two of his trial at Bristol Crown Court the jury heard in 1995 Farrow was jailed after admitting an aggravated burglary in which he threatened an elderly woman with a knife at her Stourbridge home.
The court heard Stella Crow, now deceased, was aged 77 when Farrow burst into the rented flats she sub-let, produced a large knife and demanded money and jewellery. The pensioner had given a statement detailing how she grabbed the blade and a struggle ensued in which the intruder grabbed her by the throat and struck her in the face, knocking a front tooth out.
"I tried to kick him in the groin but he was too tall," she said. "He said if anyone came in he would kill them and the dogs. He said he killed people before."
Ms Crow went on to say she recognised her attacker as a man who had been to the flats before and stole a teacher tenant's property.
The jury heard a statement from Margaret Pinder, resident at Vine Cottage in Thornbury where Farrow admitted breaking into when she and her husband were away for Christmas.
In a statement she described returning home to find the all the electricity switches turned off, coats scattered on the floor and half-eaten food and drink on the table.
She also described finding the threatening letter, written in its sinister red handwriting.
The court heard the burglar helped himself to cash, two wallets, a defunct mobile phone, a Roberts radio and jewellery including a ladies' gold watch.
Police discovered the radio in Farrow's rucksack when they arrested him after a tip-off in Folkestone on February 19, and recovered the watch from a bonfire at a barn where Farrow had previously stayed.
Padraig O'Shea, a forensic scientist, said he analysed shoe marks left at Vine Cottage and concluded "very strong support" that marks made on a window sill and magazine on the floor came from the soles of Farrow's left and right boots.
Claire Morse, a forensic scientist specialising in DNA and body fluids, said Farrow's DNA was traceable on the large kitchen knife used to pin the note at Vine Cottage. She could not exclude his DNA from the smaller blade used to pin the note.
The case continues.