Hundreds say final farewell to stabbed vicar

The funeral of former Essex vicar the Rev John Suddard has taken place in Gloucestershire Photo: PA Wire

Hundreds of people said a final goodbye to a murdered clergyman in the church where he was installed as priest just a few months ago. Nearly 500 people filled St Mary's Church in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, to pay their respects to the 59-year-old Reverend John Suddards.

Mourners included the Bishop of Colchester and clergy and friends from Mr Suddards's former parish in Witham, Essex. Workmen found Mr Suddards stabbed to death in the hallway of the vicarage on Valentine's Day.

During the service on Saturday, a tribute written by his wife was read out. It said: "As John's family we have great memories of John. He would be so touched to see so many people here today; family, old and new friends, godchildren, parishioners, colleagues and fellow clergy. His loss is keenly felt and he is much missed."

Clergy and family members at the funeral of the Rev John Suddards, 59, found stabbed to death in February. Credit: PA Wire

Mr Suddards had taken up his post after arriving from the Diocese of Chelmsford in Essex.The former barrister moved to the area after serving at St Nicolas Church in Witham, since 2001 and before that at Great Yeldham parish, 20 miles away.

Stephen Farrow, 47, has been charged with the murder of the Reverend Suddards and also that of retired teacher Betty Yates, 77, in Bewdley, Worcestershire.