Footprints found in Betty Yates's home similar to accused's boots, court hears (From Worcester News)
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Boots seized from Stephen Farrow are similar to footprints found at Betty Yates's cottage
ACCUSED: Footprints in a similar shape and size to a pair of boots seized from Stephen Farrow were found at Betty Yates's cottage
FOOTPRINTS similar in shape and size to the boots seized from the man accused of murdering retired teacher Betty Yates were found in her home, a court has heard.
After stabbing 77-year-old to death, her killer stayed at her home to tidy up the "very neat" cottage.
A walking stick used during the attack was placed back in its holder, a blood-stained book was placed on a desk and a medication packet, along with other blood-stained items, were put into a wicker basket.
Stephen Farrow, aged 48, is on trial at Bristol Crown Court for the murders of Mrs Yates and Rev John Suddards.
He denies killing Mrs Yates who was found stabbed to death at her cottage in Bewdley, Worcestershire on January 4, having been killed two days earlier.
She had been stabbed four times in the head.
Farrow admits the manslaughter of Mr Suddards in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, between February 12 and 15 on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denies his murder,
He has pleaded guilty to burgling another property, Vine Cottage, also in Thornbury, over the Christmas and New Year period, where a note was found threatening to kill "Christian scum".
The jury heard evidence from a senior forensic investigator for West Mercia Police and a forensic scientist who studied footmarks found at the three locations.
Farrow, of no fixed address, was not in court to hear their evidence having declined to come to court, jurors were told.
Forensic scientist Padraig O'Shea said he compared the soles of a pair of boots taken from Farrow on his arrest to a footprint found on a magazine at the scene of the burglary at Vine Cottage.
The boots have a "complex block pattern" that matched the shape and size of the print found on the front cover of the magazine found on the floor of the study at the cottage, he said.
"There was a similar degree of wear between the shoe and the print.
There was a damage feature similar in shape and size to that on the boot. In my opinion, there is very strong support for the proposition the marks were made by the boots of Mr Farrow."
Investigators examined Mrs Yates's home for two weeks following the discovery of her body.
Mr O'Shea examined a Reebok exercise mat which was taken from Mrs Yates's home, Riverscroft Cottage.
Crime scene investigators found faint dust marks on the flat and shiny surface of the exercise mat which were shown under a special light. When examined in the laboratory Mr O'Shea said they were able to find footprints which showed a similar "complex block pattern" to that of Farrow's boot.