Man accused of murder ‘had bragged of killing’

EVIDENCE: This note was found pinned to the kitchen table with knives following the burglary at Vine Cottage, Thornbury.

EVIDENCE: This note was found pinned to the kitchen table with knives following the burglary at Vine Cottage, Thornbury.

First published in News Worcester News: Photograph of the Author by , @lizsweetmanWN #worcsnews

THE man accused of killing Betty Yates at her Worcestershire home had previously bragged of killing before, a court has been told.

The jury at Bristol Crown Court was told yesterday that Stephen Farrow pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary at an address in Heath Road, Stourbridge, West Midlands, in August 1994, where he threatened its 77-year-old owner with a “12-inch blade”.

During the incident, homeowner Stella Crow said she was threatened with a knife and told she might be killed.

In her statement, parts of which are disputed by the defence counsel, Ms Crow, who has since died, said: “He asked for money and jewellery. Then he said that if anyone came in, he would kill me and the dogs. He said, ‘I have killed before’.

“He was holding the knife above my head in a stabbing stance.”

Farrow, aged 48, of no fixed abode, denies any involvement in Mrs Yates’s death.

The 77-year-old was found stabbed to death at her cottage Riverscroft in Bewdley on Wednesday, January 4.

Farrow admits the manslaughter of the Rev John Suddards in Thornbury, south Gloucestershire, on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denies his murder.

He also admits burgling another property, Vine Cottage in Thornbury over the Christmas and new year period.

Michael Fitton QC, prosecuting, said forensic evidence, including links to the footwear worn by Farrow at the time of his arrest in February, connected all three cases. Scientific experts are expected to give evidence next week.

On Thursday, the jury members were shown a map of Thornbury village which showed the proximity of the vicarage, where Mr Suddards’ body was found, to Vine Cottage from which cash, jewellery and a radio were stolen in the burglary.

Mr Fitton said a note was found pinned to the kitchen table with knives following the burglary that read: “Be thankful you didn’t come back or we would have killed you, Christian scum. I f***ing hate God.”

The trial continues.

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