'Psychopath' homeless drifter obsessed with religion found guilty of murdering vicar and retired teacher
Families ask why drifter with history of violence and mental illness was free to attack loved ones
A psychopathic killer with a loathing for religion was jailed for the rest of his life today for the ritualistic killing of a vicar and the fatal stabbing of a retired teacher six weeks earlier.
Stephen Farrow, 48, a homeless drifter with a history of psychiatric illness, killed the clergyman after a two-month campaign of terror in which he threatened to kill "Christian scum" and murdered 77-year-old Betty Yates inside her Worcestershire home.
Farrow, who said that he had been abused by a priest as a child, became obsessed by religion and claimed that he had first planned to crucify the Rev John Suddards at his vicarage in Thornbury, Gloucestershire.
He stabbed Rev Studdards seven times and then told him to "f***ing die then and hurry up" in the last few minutes as the vicar's life ebbed away, according to an account Farrow gave to a psychiatrist. Farrow then ate food, drank beer and watched an India Jones DVD before he left the vicarage.
Farrow claimed that religion was important to him but he wanted to kill the Archbishop of Canterbury - one of a number of people he had expressed an intention to murder including members of his own family and a prison governor.
He claimed that 2012 would mark the second coming of Christ and sent a text message to a friend on New Year's Eve telling her that the "church will be the first to suffer".
Days later on January 2 he broke into the home of Mrs Yates and hit her with a heavy walking stick, with such force that it splintered, Bristol Crown Court heard. Farrow then arranged the body, put a pillow under her head and then stabbed her four times.
Mr Justice Field said: "To put a knife deep into the body of Betty Yates as she lay helpless on the floor, having arranged her head on the pillow was an act of absolute sadism. You did that because you wanted to."
He went on to kill the vicar six weeks later close to a house that he'd burgled and left a threat pinned to a table by two knives. The householders had been away over Christmas and New Year and the note called them "Christian scum" who should be "thankful" they were away.
Farrow showed no emotion as a jury found him guilty of two counts of murder. He had denied the murders but admitted manslaughter of the vicar on grounds of diminished responsibility.
The families welcomed the verdicts but questioned whether Farrow should have been free to roam the country despite a history of violence and mental illness.
Rev Suddards sister, Hilary Bosworth, said: "In the nine months since John died, we have experienced all the grief of losing a loved one, but we have also had to come to terms with the fact that John's life was taken in a very violent and totally unprovoked attack in his own home."
Bruce Jenner's 'Interview of the year': Suicidal thoughts, rejection by family members and new wardrobe
Top 20 misconceptions people believe are true
Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
Nepal earthquake: More than 1,000 killed across four countries and in Mount Everest avalanche
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Katie Hopkins on LBC: Listen to caller taking The Sun columnist to task over migrant comments
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
- 1 Bruce Jenner's 'Interview of the year': Suicidal thoughts, rejection by family members and new wardrobe
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 How to turn off/stop 'seen by' on Facebook: Disable it to make your chats seem less passive aggressive
- 4 'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
- 5 Buckingham Palace guard who attacked passers-by in 'most most violent piece of CCTV footage' police officer had seen walks free