Murder suspect Stephen Farrow refused to answer any questions following his arrest

A homeless drifter accused of murdering both a vicar and a retired Bewdley teacher refused to answer any questions following his arrest, a court heard.

Stephen Farrow is accused of murdering Betty Yates
Stephen Farrow is accused of murdering Betty Yates

Stephen Farrow, aged 48, answered “No comment” to every question he was asked by detectives during three days of interviews. He is on trial at Bristol Crown Court charged with murdering Reverend John Suddards, 59, at his vicarage in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, and Betty Yates, 77, at her remote cottage in Bewdley, Worcestershire.

A nationwide manhunt was launched for Farrow after the body of Mr Suddards was found on February 14 this year at St Mary’s vicarage. The drifter was arrested five days later at a house in Folkestone, Kent, on suspicion of murdering Mr Suddards.

Farrow was later that day arrested on suspicion of murdering Mrs Yates in January and of committing a separate burglary at Vine Cottage in Thornbury over the Christmas and new year period. He was then taken back to Bristol to be interviewed by detectives and was first interviewed on February 20 at Trinity Road police station.


Dc Wayne Sumsion said that Farrow had a solicitor and an appropriate adult with him during those interviews, which were taped.

“Stephen Farrow was told he was forensically linked to Vine Cottage and Thornbu-ry vicarage,” Dc Sumsion said. “Thereafter Stephen Farrow answered ‘no comment’ to every question.”

The following day, February 21, Farrow told police during his next interview: “I’m a bit kind of strange, I just feel different today. I don’t know what’s wrong.”

He denies two counts of murder but has admitted Mr Suddards’s manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. Farrow has also pleaded guilty to a burglary of Vine Cottage where a note was left threatening to kill “Christian scum”.

Mr Justice Field yesterday adjourned the trial until Monday.

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