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Stephen Farrow Remanded Over Murders Of Vicar And Retired Teacher

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Betty Yates and John Suddards were both stabbed to death
Betty Yates and John Suddards were both stabbed to death

A man has been remanded in custody accused of the murders of vicar John Suddards and retired teacher Betty Yates.

Stephen Farrow faced North Avon Magistrates' Court on Thursday accused of killing the clergyman and the pensioner.

Farrow, of no fixed address, was remanded in custody to appear before Bristol Crown Court on Friday for a bail application.

Farrow, 47, is accused of the murder of Mr Suddards between 13 and 15 February and the murder of Mrs Yates between 1 and 5 January. He also faces a charge of burglary relating to a separate property in Thornbury, south Gloucestershire, between 21 December and 3 January.

During the hearing, Farrow spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and that he was of no fixed address.

Farrow was arrested in Folkestone four days ago following a tip-off from the public after Avon and Somerset Police launched a nationwide manhunt.

Mr Suddards, 59, was found stabbed to death at his home in Thornbury on 14 February, while Mrs Yates, 77, was also stabbed at her cottage in Bewdley, Worcestershire, on 2 January.

The vicar's body was found by workmen who had arrived at the vicarage next to St Mary's Church in Castle Street

The news of his death sent shockwaves through the clergy and the close-knit community, about 11 miles north of Bristol.

Mrs Yates was found dead at the bottom of stairs at her home on the banks of the River Severn on 4 January, having been killed two days earlier.

Wearing a dark grey fleece jacket and green combat trousers, Farrow appeared before District Judge Joti Boparai surrounded by three female dock officers.

The court heard that Farrow was alleged to have burgled Vine Cottage in Kington Lane, Thornbury, between 21 December and 3 January and stole cash, jewellery, a radio and other items of unknown value.

Prosecutor Sian Sullivan said Farrow's case was only suitable for trial at crown court.

"I ask that you send those two charges to the crown court and that you also send the burglary as it is related to the offences," she said.

"They are linked forensically and also by other matters to the defendant."

Farrow was represented in court by Hannah Uglow, who made no representations on her client's behalf.

The district judge fixed the bail hearing for Friday and the preliminary hearing for 9 March.

She said: "The two charges of murder you face can only be tried at the crown court. I am sending your case to Bristol Crown Court. The burglary matter, as it is linked, will also go to the same court.

"Your next court appearance will be at Bristol tomorrow when the court can consider bail, should you wish to apply for it tomorrow. As far as bail is concerned, I remand you into custody."