A homeless man who brutally murdered a vicar and a retired teacher in 'horrific' and 'humiliating' attacks has been told he will never be released from prison.

Stephen Farrow attacked Rev John Suddards with knives in February after the clergyman opened the door to the drifter.

stephen farrow

Farrow has been given life in prison

As he bled, Farrow kicked him to the floor and told him to 'f****** die then and hurry up' before arranging a number of personal items around Rev Suddards to "desecrate his memory," the judge said. Farrow then watched DVDs and drank beer in the 59-year-old's house.

Six weeks earlier the drifter had battered 77-year-old former teacher Betty Yates to death in her own home. He attacked her so violently with a walking stick it splintered, the judge said.

suddards split

Rev John Suddards and Betty Yates were brutally attacked in their own homes

Mr Justice Field told Farrow:

"On January 2 this year you somehow got into Betty Yates's home in the afternoon or early evening.

"Mrs Yates lived in a remote spot at the banks of the River Severn. She was 77 years old but she led an active life.

"You struck Mrs Yates from behind with a heavy walking stick, hitting her hard at least twice to the back of the head with the rounded, bulbous handle.

"You hit her with such force that the walking stick splintered.

"I am quite satisfied on the evidence that has been presented that Mrs Yates fell unconscious, hitting her face on the floor.
"You then arranged her body and you put a pillow under her head.

"I am quite sure that having done that, you then inflicted the four stab wounds which you inflicted.

"You left the knife in the fatal wound - the wound that was going to bleed the most profusely."

murder case

The note told the owners they were lucky for being away

The judge continued: "Six weeks later, on February 13, you went to Thornbury, you having been there in the New Year when you broke into the house of Mr and Mrs Pinder who were away on holiday.

"In their house you made yourself at home and you left with items of jewellery and a radio.

"You left a note pinned with two knives to the kitchen table which spoke of 'Christian scum' and how you 'hated God'.

"At the vicarage on February 13 Rev Suddards let you in and in his hallway you attacked him with knives.


Rev John Suddards was chaplain of St. Mary's Church

"He tried to defend himself by using his hands. On your account to Dr Rogers, when the reverend tried to get back up, you kicked him back to the floor.

"Dr Rogers thought your account was genuine and the injuries on the reverend are consistent with him having a blow, such as a kick, to the eye area.

"The reverend told you he was dying and you replied 'f****** die then and hurry up' and you watched him die as life seeped away over the next three minutes.

"You then ransacked the vicarage and then placed a number of highly personal items on or around the reverend.

"I am quite sure you did that to humiliate the reverend and to desecrate his memory. I am quite satisfied you intended to humiliate his family in the course of doing that.

"You carefully set a scene. You then ate food, drank beer and watched two DVDs.

"You didn't leave the house until early the next morning."

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  • File photo dated 6/1/12 of police searching the fields next to a cottage near Bewdley in Worcestershire, after the body of Betty Yates, 77, was discovered. (Photo credit: David Jones/PA Wire)

  • File photo dated 15/2/12 of police searching near St Mary's church, Thornbury, south Gloucestershire at the scene where Reverend John Suddards, 59, was found dead in the vicarage with multiple stab wounds. (Photo credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire)

  • Undated handout photo issued by Avon and Somerset Police of Stephen Farrow, 48, who was found guilty of killing the Rev John Suddards, 59, and Betty Yates, 77, by a jury at Bristol Crown Court. (Photo credit: Avon and Somerset Police/PA Wire)

  • Undated handout CCTV image issued by Avon and Somerset Police of Stephen Farrow, 48, who was found guilty of killing the Rev John Suddards, 59, and Betty Yates, 77, by a jury at Bristol Crown Court. (Photo credit: Avon and Somerset Police/PA Wire)

  • Undated handout CCTV image issued by Avon and Somerset Police of Stephen Farrow, 48, who was found guilty of killing the Rev John Suddards, 59, and Betty Yates, 77, by a jury at Bristol Crown Court. (Photo credit: Avon and Somerset Police/PA Wire)

  • Undated handout photo issued by Avon and Somerset Police of the word 'help' written with a finger in blue ink on the wall in the lounge, of murder victim Rev John Suddards, shown to a jury at Bristol Crown Court, which was only discovered when Stephen Farrow, confided in a psychiatric nurse after he was charged. (Photo credit: Avon and Somerset Police/PA Wire)

  • Undated handout photo issued by Avon and Somerset Police of a copy of the note left at Vine Cottage, Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, following a burglary by Stephen Farrow. (Photo credit should read: Avon and Somerset Police/PA Wire)

  • Undated police service handouts of murder victims, vicar John Suddards and retired teacher Betty Yates, as Stephen Farrow, 48, was found guilty of their murders by a jury at Bristol Crown Court today. (Photo credit: Police Handouts/PA Wire)

  • Undated handout photo issued by Avon and Somerset Police of Stephen Farrow, 48, who was found guilty of killing the Rev John Suddards, 59, and Betty Yates, 77, by a jury at Bristol Crown Court. (Photo credit: Avon and Somerset Police/PA Wire)