DORSET Police officers have been cleared of any wrongdoing after it emerged they had been made aware of a text message threatening the Church sent by the murderer of Rev John Suddards days before his brutal death.
Stephen Farrow, who was convicted of the murders of former Thornbury vicar Mr Suddards and retired teacher Betty Yates, sent the chilling text message to a friend, Michaela Rowsell, on New Year’s Eve 2011.
In the message he threatened the Church, warning it would "be the first to suffer" just days before stabbing the widow to death at her home in January and killing the priest at his vicarage.
Ms Rowsell, from Bridport, Dorset, known to friends as Ky and nicknamed 'piggy' by Farrow, said she was "petrified" after receiving the message and immediately contacted police.
The text, sent at 8.25pm, said: "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.
"As I say it was always going to end like this. I'm surprised the police have not been to see you but they soon will. So f*** you, the church and the system. You can all go to hell. Watch the news piggy because you will know it was me."
Ms Rowsell met Farrow in spring 2011 when she was helping the homeless at an evangelical church in Bridport.
Mr Suddards, 59, was found dead at his vicarage in Thornbury on Tuesday, February 14.
Mrs Yates, 77, was discovered stabbed to death at her cottage in Bewdley, Worcestershire, the previous month.
Farrow, 48, described as a homeless drifter, was jailed for life for the killings in November.
A review was held following his trial at Bristol Crown Crown last October to establish whether the force followed procedure after being alerted to the text message.
It deemed that officers had responded appropriately after being made aware of the message.
In a statement Dorset Police 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."