Vigil held for stabbed Thornbury vicar John Suddards

A late-night vigil was held in memory of the Reverend John Suddards at St Mary's Church in Thornbury
Image caption John Suddards was found stabbed to death inside his vicarage on Tuesday

A late-night vigil has been held in memory of the Reverend John Suddards who was stabbed to death near Bristol.

St Mary's Church in Thornbury, close to the vicarage where Mr Suddards was killed, opened at 20:00 GMT on Monday.

Officers are continuing to question Stephen Farrow, 47, after his arrest in Kent on Sunday, about the stabbings of Mr Suddards and Betty Yates.

Mrs Yates was stabbed at her home in Worcestershire. Police can now hold Mr Farrow until Wednesday morning.

The deaths of retired teacher Mrs Yates, 77, who was found at her cottage near Bewdley, Worcestershire, last month and Mr Suddards have been linked by officers.

Detectives are "examining similarities" between the deaths.

Mrs Yates was found stabbed to death at the foot of the stairs at her home on the banks of the River Severn on 4 January.

She had also been beaten with her walking stick.

A man was arrested on 2 February and questioned by police investigating her death but he was later released on bail.

Mr Suddards was found stabbed to death at his vicarage in Castle Street.

Image caption Betty Yates: Found dead in her cottage

St Mary's School, where Mr Suddards was the vicar, said they were "greatly shocked" by the death.

"Although only recently installed as vicar of St Mary's, in the short time John had been with us he very quickly became a much loved and respected member of our school community," said the school in a statement.

"We will always treasure the memories we have of John. He will be greatly missed by us all.

"Our hearts go out to members of John's family."

Mr Suddards was a former barrister who joined the clergy 22 years ago.

He moved to the Thornbury parish six months ago, having served at St Nicolas Church in Witham, Essex, for 10 years and before that at Great Yeldham parish, also in Essex.

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