Stephen Farrow murder trial: Accused sent 'Church will suffer' text

Betty Yates and the Reverend John Suddards Betty Yates and Rev John Suddards were both found stabbed to death in their homes

Related Stories

A man accused of the murder of a vicar and a retired teacher texted a friend the message "the Church will be the first to suffer", a court has heard.

Stephen Farrow denies murdering Betty Yates, 77, and the Rev John Suddards but admits the latter's manslaughter.

Mr Suddards, 59, was found dead at his vicarage in Thornbury, near Bristol, in February. Mrs Yates was found dead at her home in Worcestershire in January.

Farrow texted Michaela Rowsell on New Year's Day, the jury heard.

He warned her to watch the news and told her she "never knew just how disturbed I am".

Mrs Rowsell told Bristol Crown Court that she was "petrified" after receiving the message and phoned the police.

'Aggressive and assertive'

She told jurors she had met Farrow in spring 2011 when she was helping out the homeless at an evangelical church in Bridport, Dorset.

Mrs Rowsell told the court she had seen Farrow be violent towards other homeless men and suffered mood swings.

Stephen Farrow The prosecution accepts that Farrow has a severe personality disorder

Asked about Farrow's attitude to the Church, Mrs Rowsell said it was "pretty disgusting really. I would say he uses and abuses them".

The court also heard evidence from the Rev Canon Andrew Evans, the vicar of St Mary's Church in Bridport.

He said Farrow would often become "aggressive and assertive" in his attitude towards the Church and could not understand why any church would not give him money.

Mr Evans said on one occasion he felt threatened by Farrow.

He said: "This was when his benefits had been stopped and he had hoped to get some money to put a £100 deposit down on a flat in Lyme Regis.

"He asked for the £100 for the flat. He asked on several occasions and each time more assertively."

Farrow was not present in court having refused to leave Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire where he is being held.

The trial continues.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More England stories



  • Shinji Mikamo as a boy, and Hiroshima bomb cloudLove and the bomb

    The Japanese man who lost everything but found peace

  • Northern League supporters at the party's annual meeting in 2011Padania?

    Eight places in Europe that also want independence

  • scottie dogShow-stealers

    How Scottie dogs became a symbol of Scotland

  • Hamas rally in the West Bank village of Yatta, 2006Hamas hopes

    Why the Palestinian group won't back down yet

  • The outermost coffin of Tutankhamun 'Tut-mania'

    How discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb changed popular culture

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.