Man charged with murder of Worcestershire pensioner

A 47-year-old man has been charged with the murders of retired teacher Betty Yates as well as Vicar John Suddards in Gloucestershire.

Stephen Farrow will appear before North Avon Magistrates' Court on Thursday 23rd February accused of killing the pensioner.

Farrow was arrested in Folkestone, Kent, on Sunday following a tip-off from the public after police launched a nationwide manhunt.

Mrs Yates, 77, was stabbed to death at her cottage in Bewdley, Worcestershire, on January 2 while Mr Suddards, 59, was found stabbed to death at his home in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, on February 14.

Farrow is accused of the murder of Mr Suddards between February 13 and 14 and the murder of Betty Yates between January 1 and 5.

Mrs Yates' children said they were "bewildered" over her "savage" killing. Betty Yates' children David Yates and Hazel Costello spoke at a news conference, her son David Yates and daughter Hazel Costello appealed for information.

"We are completely bewildered as to who could carry out such a savage attack on our mother," said Mrs Costello, 53.

"That this should have happened in her home makes this even more difficult to bear. Our mum and dad searched for many years to find this spot and then built their dream; not just in bricks and mortar.

"Our father Ray died almost seven years ago and there was never a possibility in our minds that mum would want to leave the cottage."

Mrs Yates' son David, said he was surviving "day by day" and was having difficulty coping with his mother's murder.

It comes as officers investigate two anonymous letters which were sent to police investigating the murder. Detectives say they contain information which have sparked potential new lines of inquiry, and say they want to speak to whoever sent them. Police have also recovered a second weapon which was used to attack her.


Anyone with information should call the Major Incident Room at Stourport Police Station on 0300 333 3000 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.