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Police cleared over killer Stephen Farrow's text messages
AN INTERNAL review has cleared police officers after threatening text messages were sent to a Bridport woman by a drifter who later went on to become a double murderer.
Former Bridport man Stephen Farrow sent the message to Michaela Rowsell on New Year’s Eve in 2011 warning that he was going to hurt someone and that the church would be first.
Two months later he went on to kill the Rev John Suddards, in Thornbury, near Bristol, and former teacher Betty Yates, 77, in Worcestershire.
Police held an internal investigation which has now concluded that the force responded appropriately and that there was no misconduct. A spokesman said: “Dorset Police received a call from a woman on New Year’s Eve 2011 reporting that she had received threatening text messages from a man making veiled threats against her and the church.
“This man went on to commit two murders.
“Both victims were linked to the church. An internal investigation has been completed and the force has concluded that Dorset Police responded appropriately given the information available at the time.
“No misconduct has been identified.”
Former Bridport man Stephen Farrow was found guilty of the murders of Rev Suddards and Mrs Yates in separate attacks in their homes at a trial late last year. Farrow, 48, was told by a judge at Bristol Crown Court that he had committed two horrific murders and would never be released.
Mrs Yates was murdered at her home in January and the Rev Suddards, 59, was killed at his vicarage in Thornbury, South Glou-cestershire in February.
Farrow went on the run after the murders and travelled across the country by bus. He was spotted on CCTV in Weymouth at a Londis store.
The attacks came after Farrow sent a text message to Ms Rowsell on New year’s Eve warning her to watch the news as the ‘church will be the first to suffer’. Mrs Rowsell told jurors that she was petrified and phoned the police.
Farrow’s text, timed at 8.25pm, said: “So as you reject me you will suffer. I will be just around the corner and you will never know when I will be there.
“I’ve already started my work and won’t stop until I’m caught. You don’t and never knew just how disturbed I am. 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.”
Police launched their own investigation into the text messages following the trial.