A Dorset woman threatened by homeless drifter convicted of the murders of a vicar and a retired teacher says she thinks he could have been stopped.
Former Bridport man Stephen Farrow was found guilty of the murders of the Rev John Suddards in South Gloucestershire and pensioner Betty Yates in Worcestershire in separate attacks in their homes.
Farrow, 48, was told by a judge at Bristol Crown Court that he had committed two ‘horrific’ murders and would never be released.
Farrow, described in court as a psychopath, was caught on CCTV in Weymouth at a Londis store hours after murdering Rev Suddards.
The Rev Suddards was the brother of Bridport woman Hilary Bosworth who paid tribute to him and thanked police after the verdicts.
She said: “My brother John was a good man, who dedicated his life to serving God and helping people.
“He was a much loved uncle to my three children, and a dear friend to many. He is greatly missed. In the nine months since John died, we have experienced the grief of losing a loved one.
“But we have also had to come to terms with the fact that John’s life was taken, in a violent and totally unprovoked attack, in his own home.
“Thankfully, only six days after the offence, Stephen Farrow was arrested.
“Like many other tragic events, the shocking deaths of John and Betty Yates raise many questions. How might things have been different?
“What could have been done to avert these tragedies?
“Do we, as a country, do enough to ensure that psychopaths, with a history of violence and criminal offences, are not left roaming around at large, ready to attack someone?
“Do we perhaps need to think again about how we might better monitor those people who present a real risk to society.”
Michaela Rowsell, from Bridport, reported Farrow to the police when she started to send her threatening texts.
She says they told her there was nothing they could do, but yesterday told the BBC: "I believe that if they had gone onto their database I'm pretty certain he would have come up as a dangerous person. I think they should have acted on that threat.
"Maybe if they had the Reverend and Betty would be alive. I just find it so sad that two people had to die in those circumstances."
Rev Suddards was stabbed seven times. He was discovered on the morning of February 14 of this year, lying fully clothed on his back in his hallway.
After murdering Mr Suddards on the night of February 13, Farrow stayed at his victim’s home to watch an Indiana Jones DVD and drink beer before travelling across the west country by bus.
The next day at 7.20pm he was pictured on a security camera in the Londis store in Westham Road, Weymouth. Farrow was arrested on February 19 in Folkestone, Kent, after a nationwide manhunt by Avon and Somerset Police.
Farrow previously lived in the Rax Lane area of Bridport and was a regular visitor to the town.