Vicar’s blood found on clothes of drifter who denies murder

The blood of a vicar killed in his vicarage was found on the clothes of the man accused of murdering him, a court was told yesterday.

Drops of the Rev John Suddards’s blood were detected on Stephen Farrow’s coat, trousers and boots.

A knife seized when Farrow was arrested in Kent in February days after the discovery of Mr Suddards’s body was also found to have the clergyman’s blood on it, Bristol Crown Court heard.

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Mr Suddards, 59, was discovered lying fully clothed on his back in the hallway of his vicarage and surrounded by pornography, party poppers, a condom wrapper, underwear, a canvas of Jesus Christ and a mirror.

A copy of the New Testament – open to the Letter of Jude – was found on Mr Suddards’s chest with a calendar of a semi-naked male model covering the lower half of his body.

Farrow, 48, denies the murder of Mr Suddards in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, but has admitted the manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The drifter, of no fixed abode, also denies murdering retired teacher Betty Yates, 77, who was found dead at her cottage in Bewdley, Worcestershire, in January.

Farrow has admitted the burglary of a cottage in Thornbury, in which a note was found threatening to kill “Christian scum”.

Forensic scientist Claire Morse told the court she had examined Farrow’s green North Face jacket, Peter Storm over trousers and brown size 11 Meindl hiking boots that were seized when he was arrested by police at a house in Blackpool Road, Folkestone.

She said that Mr Suddards’s blood was found on all three items and the probability of it not being his blood was one in one billion. Miss Morse said the fact blood was on the clothing indicated the defendant had been near the vicar when the blood was deposited.

A knife found when Farrow was arrested also contained traces of Mr Suddards’s blood.

Jurors heard that in the lounge of the vicarage six empty bottles of beer were found on a table arranged in a triangular pattern. Next to the bottles were the six bottle tops.

Miss Morse told the jury that Farrow’s DNA was recovered from one of the beer bottles.

“The DNA profile from the seal matched the DNA of Mr Farrow in a match profile in the order of one in one billion,” she told the court.

Scientists also found that the deposits of blood scattered around the vicarage in Castle Street were that of Mr Suddards.

A second knife, discovered by the vicar’s left elbow, also had traces of his blood on it.

The court heard that the word “help” was written with a finger in blue ink on the wall in the lounge, which was only discovered when Farrow confided in a psychiatric nurse after he was charged.

The trial continues on Monday.