8 Facts About Stephen Farrow, the Priest Killer

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Stephen Farrow, born 1964, was an English vagrant with an obsessive hatred of Christianity. He committed double murder when he stabbed to death a priest and a retired teacher, on a campaign to wage a war against Christianity.

8 Facts About Stephen Farrow, the Priest Killer

He claimed to have been abused by a priest as a youngster, which had set off his anger towards the Christian church. At the age of 10, he set fire to a church altar and watched it burn.

On 2nd January 2012, Stephen Farrow murdered 77-year-old retired schoolteacher Betty yates in Bewdley, Worcestershire. Six weeks later, he butchered 59-year-old priest John Suddards in Thornbury, Gloucestershire.

Six days after the priest’s murder, Farrow was arrested in Folkestone, Dover. He pleaded not guilty to murder but was found guilty on both counts in late 2012 and sentenced to life in prison.

Here are eight crazy facts about Stephen Farrow.

Broke into a cottage over Christmas and left a threatening note

Farrow broke into a family home in Gloucestershire over Christmas 2011, while the family were away on their festive holidays. The break-in came just days before the murder of Betty Yates.

He ransacked the house and left a note on the kitchen table. It read:

Be thankful you did not come back or we would have killed you Christian scum. I fucking hate God.

The note was ominously left beside two kitchen knives. The family arrived home to find the note and knives, just one day before Betty was killed.

Planned to kill the Archbishop of Canterbury

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, was busy with his festive schedule in late 2011, when Stephen Farrow developed a plan to stab him to death.

He travelled to Canterbury with a bag full of knives, and the plan was simple. All he needed to do was get close to Williams, so he could put a knife in him.

However, Farrow was dissuaded from acting on his fantasy as the archbishop’s security was too strong. He left Canterbury unfulfilled, and decided to break into the home of Betty, and kill her instead.

8 Facts About Stephen Farrow, the Priest Killer
Rowan D. Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, 2010. Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0

Stephen Farrow planned to crucify the priest

On Valentine’s Day 2012, six weeks after Betty’s murder, Farrow got himself invited into the home of Reverend John Suddards.

He stabbed John seven times in the upper body, killing him instantly but Farrow had more appalling acts planned.

Before entering the vicarage, Farrow had prepared a bag with a hammer and large nails. His plan was to kill John then crucify him on the wall of the vicarage. For whatever reason, he didn’t go with the shocking plan.

Placed porn around the body

Stephen Farrow left John’s body where he had killed him but decided to lay objects around it, including pornographic material.

He placed dozens of magazines and photos around the body, though it has long remained unclear where the pornographic material originated from.

Farrow then placed a calendar of a semi-nude male model on John’s legs. He also left party poppers, a condom wrapper, underwear, and a canvas of Jesus Christ near the body.

Left the New Testament open to the Epistle of Jude

In addition to the cornucopia of items left around the body, Farrow placed a copy of the New Testament on John’s chest. It was opened at the Epistle of Jude.

Jude is a short epistle written in Koine Greek, condemning certain people the author sees as a threat to the early Christian community.

These opponents are within the Christian community, but are not true Christians, said to be people who had given in to their lusts. Jude ends by saying that God will judge these people.

It’s clear that by leaving the Epistle of Jude open on John’s body, that Farrow believed John would be judged in the great beyond.

Left the New Testament open to the Epistle of Jude
Credit: crosswalk.com

Stayed to drink beer and watch Indiana Jones

Killing the priest, laying bizarre items around his body, leaving the Epistle of Jude open, and planning to crucify the body, was horrific enough.

But Farrow wasn’t leaving the crime scene anytime soon. He stayed for several hours in the vicarage, drinking Suddards beer and watching Indiana Jones DVDs.

Suddards body was discovered the next day and by that point, Farrow was already a suspect on the run. He was arrested six days later.

Previously attacked an elderly woman in 1994

After being convicted of various burglary, theft and deception crimes, Stephen Farrow was jailed for four years at Liverpool Crown Court for in 1993.

While on home leave in 1994, he broke into the home of pensioner Stella Crow after following her home and threatening to kill her dogs.

Stella suffered two black eyes, slashed hands, and a missing tooth in the attack. Farrow was jailed for eight years in 1995 but freed in 2000 and was left unmonitored in the community until the double murders in 2012.

He is incarcerated at Monster Mansion

Farrow is a prisoner at Wakefield Prison, commonly known as Monster Mansion due to its unfortunate roster of dangerous criminals.

Inmates known to have been resident at Monster Mansion include Harold Shipman (Doctor Death), Ian Huntley, Colin Ireland, Robert Black, Ian Watkins (former frontman of Lost Prophets), Robert Maudsley, Charles Bronson, and USSR spy Klaus Fuchs, among countless others.

Read this story and more in Orrible British True Crime Volume 5!

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