The events leading to Stephen Farrow's arrest

 

This is how events unfolded in the burglary at Vine Cottage, the murders of retired teacher Betty Yates and the Rev John Suddards, and the conviction of Stephen Farrow.

December 21 to January 2: Vine Cottage, a detached property situated on the edge of Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, is burgled. Cash, jewellery, a radio and other items are taken. A note was left pinned to the kitchen table, using two kitchen knives, which read: "Be thankful you didn't come back or we will have killed you, Christian scum. I f****** hate God".

Christmas period: Betty Yates spends Christmas with her daughter Hazel Costello and family.

December 30: Farrow is seen in the Bewdley area. He goes to a jeweller's shop in Kidderminster and sells items of jewellery as scrap gold to Annabella Harvey-Lawrence. Farrow claimed he visited Mrs Yates on this day.

January 2: Mrs Yates is murdered at her isolated home in Bewdley, Worcestershire.

January 4: Mrs Yates's friend Paul Noons drives to her home. Having failed to raise Mrs Yates, he phones the police. Officers discover her body lying on the floor at the foot of the stairs.

January 5: Pathologist Dr Nicholas Hunt attends Riverscroft Cottage. He takes swabs from the body of Mrs Yates, in particular from her left hand. Tests later reveal a full DNA profile matching Farrow.

February 13, 3.35pm: Farrow seen on CCTV arriving in Thornbury by bus from Gloucester. He was noticed by the bus driver James Pratt to be carrying a large rucksack, and was later picked out in an identification procedure by Mr Pratt.

February 14: Farrow is seen on CCTV making his way towards the High Street. He boarded a bus to Bristol that left at about 6.15am. He catches a bus to Weston-super-Mare and by the evening is in Weymouth, Dorset.

10am: The body of the Rev John Suddards is found at home by builders who had gone to the vicarage to carry out work. On Mr Suddards's chest there lay a Bible, open at the Letter of Jude.

To the left of the body and propped against the wall between two doorways was positioned a picture of Christ, and at the foot of the body, opposite that picture, a large mirror was propped against the wall of the hallway. Over his lower legs was arranged a calendar of a male model.

It appeared that party poppers had been discharged over the body; the paper streamers were over the body. Next to the body lay a number of items, including some broken china and some spilt food, including some bread and some pieces of partly eaten apple. There were also some items of a more personal nature.

February 19: Farrow is arrested at a house in Folkestone, Kent, by police, who by this time have linked the murders of Mr Suddards and Mrs Yates.

February 23: He appears at North Avon Magistrates' Court accused of the murders of the vicar and retired teacher.

March 7: Police recover a large rucksack from Crapham Barn near Beachy Head, Eastbourne. On March 8 they recover other items from the remnants of a fire there, relevant to the Vine Cottage burglary.

October 4: Farrow's trial at Bristol Crown Court starts before Mr Justice Field.

November 2: Farrow is found guilty of murdering Mrs Yates and Mr Suddards.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot