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Children of Betty Yates speak of "relief" at Farrow verdict
THE children of retired Bewdley teacher Betty Yates have spoken of their relief that their mother's killer is "off the streets of Britain".
In a joint statement released through police, Hazel and David, thanked the police and those involved in the case for their "tireless work", as well as family and friends for their support.
They said said: "We should all be relieved and thankful that Stephen Farrow is off the streets of Britain today.
"It is clear from his own words that had he not been caught he would have continued to kill others and leave more misery in his wake.
"We have seen at first hand the complexity of this murder inquiry and we want to thank the police and everybody involved for their tireless work, their attention to detail and their consideration throughout this process.
"In the most difficult of times you rely on your friends and family and we thank all of you for your help and good wishes over the past months.
"For our mother there is now some public justice but our personal loss remains raw and will continue.
"For us it is important that our mum does not become defined by the brutality of her death but is celebrated for the 77 years of her life.
"She will be remembered by her family, friends, colleagues and pupils as a woman who was kind, determined and above all good fun.
"We are not in denial about the circumstances of her death but we can and do choose to concentrate on the joy she gave in life; to do otherwise would be a betrayal."
Meanwhile, DCI Neil Jamieson, who led the investigation for West Mercia Police, welcomed the sentence handed to murderer Stephen Farrow.
He said: "Today's outcome is the right one and the sentences given to Stephen Farrow mean that he will no longer be a threat to society.
"Clearly he is a highly dangerous individual who has expressed no remorse for the terrible crimes he committed.
"The officers who worked on this inquiry were horrified at the nature of the violence used in murder of Betty Yates and the callous disregard for life.
"We were determined to bring her killer to justice and do our very best for Betty's family.
"This was a massive policing operation which came with many challenges including the fact that the scene was an isolated, rural location, and there were not many visitors.
"Betty was a much-loved and well respected member of the community, and involved in many local groups and clubs.
"To give you some idea of the scale of it, the inquiry into Betty's murder alone generated nearly 1,500 statements and more than 4,800 documents.
"During this enquiry we recovered more than 3,300 exhibits and searched more than 16 acres of land.
"Ultimately the case was solved by working closely with Avon and Somerset Police. We are immensely grateful for their contribution.
"I would also like to praise everyone who has worked on this inquiry for their professionalism and dedication.
"Media appeals played their part in bringing forward witnesses and information and we would like to thank them for keeping the investigation in the public eye.
"We also appreciate the support and understanding we have received from the community at Bewdley - and thank the many people who did come forward with information.
"Everything we have done has been with one purpose - to secure justice for the families of Betty Yates and the Rev John Suddards. My thoughts and those of all the officers from West Mercia involved in this investigation are with them."
Mr Justice Field, the presiding judge in the case, paid tribute to the families of the Mrs Yates and Rev John Suddards, who was also murdered by Farrow.
He said: "These were awful, shocking murders and the impact on the families must have been dreadful. They have attended the trial and shown great dignity and restraint.
"I also want to pay tribute to the jury, who must have been profoundly shocked and revolted by some of the details of these killings."
CPS Senior District Crown Prosecutor Sian Sullivan said: "From the beginning of the joint investigation, the Crown Prosecution Service worked closely with both Avon and Somerset and West Mercia police forces.
"As the reviewing lawyer I have personally handled this case throughout and must thank all the families for their cooperation and understanding under such difficult and emotional circumstances.
"We will never know what went on in Steven Farrow's mind as he took the lives of Reverend Suddards and Betty Yates but we hope their families take some comfort in the knowledge that he has today been convicted and sentenced for their murders."