Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Stephen Farrow trial: court told of threats to kill

Artists impression of Stephen Farrow appearing before North Avon Magistrates Photo: Elizabeth Cook/PA

A man accused of stabbing a Thornbury priest and a former primary school teacher to death had previously made threats to kill an elderly woman, a court has heard.

Stephen Farrow, 48, admits the manslaughter of the Rev John Suddards on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denies murder, between February 12 and 15.

He also denies killing Mrs Betty Yates, 77, who was found stabbed at her cottage in Bewdley, Worcestershire, on January 4.

Farrow, of no fixed address, admits burgling another property, Vine Cottage, also in Thornbury, over the Christmas and New Year period that year.

Bristol Crown Court was told Farrow has a previous conviction for aggravated burglary, dating back nearly two decades.

The jury of eight men and four women were told Farrow pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary at an address in Heath Road, Stourbridge, West Midlands in August 1994. The owner, Stella Crow, had been the victim of a burglary four years earlier in which several items were stolen from one of her lodgers.

The court heard the owner, who was 77 in August 1994 but has since died, opened her front door to a man, "in his 20s", who initially said he was meeting someone at the property. He subsequently followed Ms Crow into the home where he produced a knife with a "12-inch blade".

Edward Burgess, for the prosecution, said the intruder demanded to go into one of the rooms. Ms Crow said she shouted for help, but the man said he knew nobody was at home.

In her statement, parts of which are disputed by the defence counsel, Ms Crow 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,"

The trial was adjourned until Monday.

More on this story