A senior Church of England vicar who was being investigated by police has died after unconfirmed reports that he set fire to himself.
The Rev Martyn Neale, 60, a member of the General Synod, was found dead at his rectory in the village of Hawley, Hampshire, on Tuesday. Friends described Father Neale, who was not married and lived alone, as a ‘quietly-spoken but caring’ priest who had worked as the vicar for Hawley, in the Diocese of Guildford, for 20 years.
The diocese said he had been suspended ‘as a consequence of an ongoing police investigation’.
Father Neale became a member of the Church’s ‘parliament’, the General Synod, earlier this year and recently attended his first meeting in York. A prominent traditionalist, he was a council member of the pressure group Forward in Faith, which opposes women priests.
Two weeks ago his congregation at Holy Trinity was told that he had been suspended pending the outcome of the police inquiry, but no details were given.
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