People: Vicar sacked and defrocked after affair

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The Independent Online
An Anglican vicar is to be sacked and defrocked over his affair with a married parishioner.

The Rev Clifford Williams, 49, is the first cleric in the Church of Wales to be stripped of his office. Rev Williams, who has three children, has also been given notice to leave the rectory at Benllech, Anglesey and will lose his pounds 13,000 annual income.

But last night he said he would fight to clear his name and added that he was taking legal advice on whether to seek a review of the legality of the church's proceedings by a high court judge.

Announcing his decision, the Bishop of Bangor, the Rt Rev Barry Morgan, said: "I believe that if he were to exercise a public ministry in the church, Mr Williams would be a danger to those entrusted to his care."

Last month, a church provincial court, the first to sit in 50 years, found him guilty of adultery after a three-week hearing. His former lover, Iris Green, said Mr Williams pursued her three times after she ended their relationship. His wife, Gwenda, said she wanted a divorce.

But Mr Williams said last night: "My immediate aim at the moment is to clear my name. That is what we are working for and aiming for".

Mr Williams is being backed by his union, the Manufacturing, Science and Finance Union. Its North Wales regional officer Peter Leverton said: "The bishop is using very extreme and unwarranted language in suggesting that Rev Williams is a danger to the public."

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