Vicar murder suspect arrested

 

A 47-year-old man who was wanted over the death of a clergyman at his vicarage was today arrested on suspicion of murder, Kent Police said.

Stephen Farrow was detained at a property in Folkestone at 4.20am after officers received information on his whereabouts from a member of the public.

Police launched a nationwide manhunt yesterday after the Rev John Suddards, 59, was found stabbed to death at his vicarage in the South Gloucestershire town of Thornbury on Tuesday.

Officers from Avon and Somerset Police, in conjunction with Kent Police, went to an address in Black Bull Road where Farrow was arrested on suspicion of murder and taken into police custody.

A Kent Police spokesman said he was detained "without incident" and no one was injured.

His arrest comes after Sussex Police said he was spotted last night in the Hastings and Rother area of East Sussex.

A 43-year-old man who was arrested on Tuesday in connection with Mr Suddards' murder was yesterday freed on bail.

The alarm was raised by workmen who arrived at the vicarage next to St Mary's Church and found it was locked.

The news of Mr Suddards' death sent shockwaves through the clergy and the close-knit community, which lies about 11 miles north of Bristol.

Detectives are trying to put together a picture of Mr Suddards' personal and social life and are believed to have contacted clergy at his former parish.

The St Mary's vicar took up his post last July, having come from the diocese of Chelmsford in Essex.

A former barrister, Mr Suddards moved to the area after serving at St Nicolas Church in Witham, Essex, since 2001 and before that at Great Yeldham parish, 20 miles away in Essex.

Police seized a white Citroen van from a property in Knapp Road just hours after the man who had been released on bail was first arrested.

It is believed a man in his 40s had been sleeping in the van.

Officers have also appealed for information about a man, of average build and wearing dark clothing, who was sitting on the pavement outside St Mary's Church on Monday evening between 6pm and 8pm.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Crisp, who is leading the investigation into Mr Suddards' death for Avon and Somerset Police, said: "Early this morning, on our behalf, Kent Police arrested Stephen Farrow on suspicion of the murder of the Reverend John Suddards in Thornbury last week. His arrest follows a nationwide appeal for information which we released yesterday.

"I would like to thank the public and all those who have helped us to find him. It was as a direct result of assistance from a member of the public that we were able to locate this man and we would like to express our sincere thanks and gratitude."

PA

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