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John Suddards and Betty Yates murders: More time to quiz suspect

Betty Yates and the Reverend John Suddards
Image caption Stephen Farrow is being questioned over the murders of Betty Yates and John Suddards

Police now have until Thursday morning to question a man over the murders of a vicar in South Gloucestershire and a pensioner in Worcestershire.

Stephen Farrow, 47, was arrested in Folkestone, Kent, on Sunday over the stabbing of Reverend John Suddards, 59, found dead in Thornbury last Tuesday.

Mr Farrow was later questioned over the death of Betty Yates, 77, who was found at her cottage near Bewdley last month.

Officers previously had until early on Wednesday to charge or release him.

A late-night vigil was held in memory of the clergyman at St Mary's Church in Thornbury on Monday night, close to the vicarage where he was killed.

Image caption Stephen Farrow was arrested in Kent on Sunday

The deaths of retired teacher Mrs Yates, who was found at her cottage last month, and Mr Suddards have been linked by officers.

Detectives are "examining similarities" between the killings.

Mrs Yates was found stabbed to death at the foot of the stairs at her home on the banks of the River Severn on 4 January.

She had also been beaten with her walking stick.

A man was arrested on 2 February and questioned by police investigating her death but was later released on bail.

Mr Suddards was a former barrister who joined the clergy 22 years ago.

He moved to the Thornbury parish six months ago, having served at St Nicolas Church in Witham, Essex, for 10 years and before that at Great Yeldham parish, also in Essex.

Police had arrested a 43-year-old man over his death but said on Saturday he had been released without charge.

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