Stephen Farrow was convicted yesterday for the “dreadful, horrific and sadistic” killings of the Rev John Suddards, 59, and Betty Yates, 77.
Surrounded by guards, the 48-year-old showed no emotion from the dock at Bristol Crown Court as Mr Justice Field told him he would never be released from prison after the two murders, which were committed just six weeks apart in January and February this year.
The High Court judge had told Farrow a “whole life” sentence was appropriate in both cases. “In my judgment, you acted sadistically.
“To put a knife deep into the body of Betty Yates as she lay helpless on the floor, having arranged her head on the pillow, was an act of absolute sadism.
“You did that because you wanted to. She wasn’t threatening you. You put that knife in her to have the pleasure of doing it.”
The judge told the defendant he had also intended to humiliate and desecrate the memory of Mr Suddards.
“As for Reverend Suddards, you killed him – having kicked him down, having told him to ‘f****** hurry up and die’ – with seven deep knife wounds. He was helpless. That conduct was clearly sadistic. Accordingly, there is no question in your case of the imposition of a minimum term.”
Farrow,of no fixed address, had denied the murders of the vicar and the widow. He had, however, admitted the clergyman’s manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, and a separate burglary in which he left a note threatening to kill “Christian scum”.
The murder of Mr Suddards at his vicarage in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, was the culmination of a two-month reign of terror in which Farrow killed Mrs Yates and made the chilling threat against Christians.
Farrow told a psychiatrist he had intended to crucify the clergyman on the floor and his death was part of his desire to “fulfil his fantasy”.
Mr Suddards was stabbed seven times and suffered wounds to his shoulder, chest, abdomen and shoulder.