A MAN has denied murdering a former Great Yeldham vicar.
Stephen Farrow pleaded not guilty to murdering the Rev John Suddards at Bristol Crown Court on Friday.
Mr Suddards was found stabbed to death at his vicarage in Thornbury, Gloustershire, on February 14.
The 59-year-old, who was the vicar of the Upper Colne Benefice, which includes churches in Great and Little Yeldham, from 1993 until July 2001, was discovered by builders at his home. He had been stabbed several times.
Mr Studdards had only taken up his post at St Mary’s Church in July last year having spent 10 years serving as a vicar in Witham, Essex.
A statement released by Mr Suddard’s family following his death said: “We are devastated with the news of John’s untimely and shocking death.”
Barbara Payne, a warden at St Andrew’s Church in Great Yeldham, said: “He was a very pleasant person, you would take to him easily.
“I liked him a lot.”
During the hearing Farrow, appearing via videolink from Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire, spoke only to confirm his name and enter pleas.
The 47-year-old, of no fixed abode, also pleaded not guilty to murdering Betty Yates at her home near the river Severn on January 4, but admitted an unconnected charge of burglary at another property in Thornbury between December, 2011, and January 3.
Farrow will appear for trial at Bristol Crown Court on October 8. He was remanded in custody until his trial.