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Dorset Police cleared of any failure in vicar murder case

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: February 05, 2013

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Dorset Police

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Dorset Police has found it did nothing wrong in regard of a threatening text message sent by the man who murdered West Country priest Reverend John Suddards.

Homeless drifter Stephen Farrow, 48, is serving two life sentences for stabbing the 59-year-old former vicar of St Mary’s Church, Thornbury, and retired teacher Betty Yates, 77, in Worcestershire.

During his trial at Bristol Crown Court last year, it emerged that Dorset Police had been alerted to threatening text messages sent by Farrow to Michaela Rowsell, whom he met in spring 2011 when she was helping the homeless at an evangelical church in Bridport, Dorset.

In a text message he said: “As you reject me, you will suffer. I will be just round the corner and you will never know when I will be there.”

On New Year’s Eve 2011, shortly before Mrs Yates was found dead, he texted: “I’ve already started my work and won’t stop ’til I’m caught.

“You will soon know the truth and the Church will be the first to suffer and I don’t lie about what is about to happen.

“You can all go to hell. Watch the news, Piggy, because you will know it was me.”

Ms Rowsell called the police, who looked into her complaint, but did not arrest Farrow at the time.

Dorset Police carried out an internal review and found it had responded “appropriately” and no misconduct had been identified on the part of any officer.

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