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Farrow guilty of Yates murder
STEPHEN Farrow has been found guilty of the murder of retired Bewdley teacher Betty Yates and will spend the rest of his life in prison.
The 48-year-old was convicted of the 77-year-old's murder by a jury at Bristol Crown Court today.
He was also found guilty of murdering Rev John Suddards in Thornbury, south Gloucestershire.
The presiding judge handed him two whole-life sentences for the killings.
Mr Justice Field told Farrow, who was surrounded by security guards: "Stephen Farrow, you have been found guilty of two horrific murders.
"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."
Farrow, who was diagnosed as a psychopath, denied the murders of Mr Suddards and Mrs Yates.
But the homeless drifter admitted the clergyman's manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, and a separate burglary.
DNA evidence linked the heavy cannabis user to the murders of Mr Suddards and widow Mrs Yates, who was found dead at her cottage in Bewdley, Worcestershire, on January 4, having been killed two days earlier.
Mrs Yates's body was found lying in her hallway with her head resting on a cushion. She had been beaten with a walking stick and stabbed four times in the head, with the knife still embedded three inches in her neck.
Mr Suddards and Mrs Yates were both killed just weeks after a burglary at Vine Cottage, near to the vicarage in Thornbury.
Farrow, who was obsessed with religion, threatened to kill "Christian scum".
The trial heard that Farrow sent a chilling text message to a friend on New Year's Eve last year, warning her that the "church will be the first to suffer".
Mr Suddards's murder bore all the hallmarks of a ritualistic killing.
Farrow told a psychiatrist he had intended to crucify the clergyman to the floor and his death was part of his desire to "fulfil his fantasy".
Mr Suddards was stabbed seven times and suffered wounds to his shoulder, chest, abdomen and shoulder. He was discovered on the morning of February 14.