A double killer who murdered a vicar and a pensioner six weeks apart has died in jail, the Ministry of Justice said.

Stephen Farrow, 58, was serving two whole life orders after being found guilty of the murder of 77-year-old Betty Yates and 59-year-old Rev John Suddards in 2012.

He died at HMP Frankland in County Durham on Monday.

He broke into the pensioner’s home in Bewdley, Worcestershire, on January 2 that year and struck her from behind with a heavy walking stick.

Stephen Farrow trial
Vicar John Suddards and retired teacher Betty Yates (Police handouts/PA)

She fell unconscious and hit her head on the floor before he arranged her body and put a pillow over her head.

He then stabbed the retired teacher four times and left the knife in the fatal wound.

On February 13 that year, he killed Rev Suddards after the clergyman let him into his vicarage.

He attacked him with knives in his doorway, leaving seven deep wounds, and when the vicar got back up he kicked his victim back to the floor.

The reverend told the killer he was dying, to which Farrow replied “f****** die then and hurry up” before watching his victim pass away.

Farrow drank beer, ate food and watched two DVDs in the vicarage before leaving the following morning.

The vicar was discovered on the morning of February 14 lying fully clothed on his back in the hallway of the vicarage surrounded by pornography, party poppers, a condom wrapper, underwear, a canvas of Jesus Christ and a mirror.

Jurors at Bristol Crown Court deliberated for eight-and-a-half hours in 2012 before finding him guilty of two counts of murder and one count of burglary.

Stephen Farrow
Stephen Farrow (Avon and Somerset Police/PA)

Farrow, who was diagnosed as a psychopath, had denied both murders. 

He had, however, admitted the clergyman’s manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, and a separate burglary in the village where the vicar was murdered. 

Farrow had an obsession with religion – claiming he had been sexually abused at boarding school by a priest – and wanted to murder the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The murder of Mr Suddards at his vicarage in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, was the culmination of a two-month reign of terror in which Farrow killed Mrs Yates and threatened to kill “Christian scum”.

His trial heard that Farrow sent a chilling text message to a friend on New Year’s Eve 2011, warning her that the “church will be the first to suffer”.

According to Farrow, 2012 marked the start of the “second coming of Christ”.

In the burglary he had admitted, Alan and Margaret Pinder spent Christmas and new year away and returned to find a note pinned to a table by two knives, which read: “Be thankful you didn’t come back or we will have killed you, Christian scum. I f****** hate God.”

A Prison Service spokesperson said on Thursday: “HMP Frankland prisoner Stephen Farrow died on August 21.

“As with all deaths in custody, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will investigate.”