Footprints similar in shape and size to the boots seized from a man accused of murdering a retired teacher were found in her Worcestershire home, a court has heard.
After stabbing 77-year-old Betty Yates to death, the person who murdered her stayed at her home to tidy up the “very neat” cottage.
A walking stick used during the attack was placed back in its holder, a blood-stained book was placed on a desk and a medication packet, along with other blood-stained items, was put into a wicker basket.
Stephen Farrow, 48, is on trial at Bristol Crown Court for the murders of Mrs Yates and Rev John Suddards. The drifter denies killing Mrs Yates who was found with a knife still in her neck at her cottage in Bewdley, Worcestershire on January 4, having been killed two days earlier.
Farrow admits the manslaughter of Mr Suddards in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denies murder, between February 12 and 15.
He has pleaded guilty to burgling another property, Vine Cottage, also in Thornbury, over the Christmas and New Year period, where a note was found threatening to kill “Christian scum”.
The jury heard evidence from a senior forensic investigator for West Mercia Police and a forensic scientist who studied footmarks found at the three locations.
Farrow, of no fixed address, was not in court to hear their evidence having declined to come to court, jurors were told.
Forensic scientist Padraig O’Shea said he compared the soles of a pair of boots taken from Farrow on his arrest to a footprint found on a magazine at the scene of the burglary at Vine Cottage. The boots have a “complex block pattern” that matched the shape and size of the print found on the front cover of the magazine found on the floor of the study at the cottage, he said.
“There was a similar degree of wear between the shoe and the print. There was a damage feature similar in shape and size to that on the boot. In my opinion, there is very strong support for the proposition the marks were made by the boots of Mr Farrow.”