Stephen Farrow trial: How Thornbury vicar's killer travelled with blood on his clothes

Profile image for This is Bristol

By This is Bristol | Saturday, October 13, 2012, 09:15

The drifter who has admitted killing the Rev John Suddards slowly journeyed across the West by bus in his blood-stained clothes after the event, a court heard.

Drops of the vicar’s blood were detected on murder accused Stephen Farrow’s coat, trousers and boots.

A knife seized when Farrow was arrested in Kent in February days after the discovery of Mr Suddards’s body was also found to have the clergyman’s blood on it, Bristol Crown Court heard.

Mr Suddards, 59, was discovered lying fully clothed on his back in the hallway of his vicarage and surrounded by pornography, party poppers, a condom wrapper, underwear, a canvas of Jesus Christ and a mirror.

A copy of the New Testament – open to the ‘Letter of Jude’ – was found on Mr Suddards’s chest with a calendar of a semi-naked male covering the lower half of his body.

Farrow, 48, denies the murder of Mr Suddards in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, but has admitted the manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He also denies murdering Betty Yates, 77, who was found dead at her cottage in Bewdley, Worcestershire, in January.

Forensic scientist Claire Morse told the court she had examined Farrow’s clothes and boots – green North Face jacket, Peter Storm over trousers and brown size 11 Meindl hiking boots – that were seized when he was arrested in Folkestone.

She said that Mr Suddards’s blood was found and the probability of it not being his was one in a billion.

Miss Morse said the fact blood was on the clothing indicated that the defendant had been near the vicar when the blood was deposited. A knife found when Farrow was arrested also contained traces of Mr Suddards’s blood.

Jurors heard that in the lounge of the vicarage six empty bottles of Kronenbourg beer were found on a table. Miss Morse told the jury that Farrow’s DNA was recovered from one of the beer bottles.

The court heard that the word “help” was written with a finger in blue ink on the wall in the lounge, which was only discovered when Farrow confided in a psychiatric nurse after he was charged.

Jurors were also shown stills from CCTV cameras which showed that Farrow arrived in Thornbury on February 13 by bus at 3.35pm.

Farrow was seen to be walking around the town and by 4.30pm he appears to have changed into his dark outdoor trousers and jacket during a visit to the Roman Catholic Church of Christ the King.

He was last seen that day at 4.30pm walking away from Christ the King in the direction of St Mary’s vicarage in Castle Street.

Jurors were next shown Farrow leaving Thornbury at 6.15am the following day on the 310 service in Bristol bus station, before boarding at 7am the number 353 bus to Weston-super-Mare.

At 7.20pm that evening he was shown in a Londis store in Weymouth, Dorset, picking up a newspaper.

Mr Justice Field adjourned the trial until Monday.

Stephen Farrow, the man accused of murdering the Rev John Suddards, reading a paper while using a bus in the hours after the killing

Stephen Farrow in the town of Thornbury soon after he is accused of murdering the Rev John Suddards, 59. The footage was shown to the jury at Bristol Crown Court yesterday. The trial continues.


Latest Stories in Thornbury


Local Vouchers


Local Jobs


Search for...

Min price is bigger than Max price
Min price is bigger than Max price
Min rent is bigger than Max rent