Vicar and 'daughter' held on suspicion of murder of baby and sex offences at their Lancashire home

The pair, along with the cleric’s wife, were also questioned on suspicion of conspiring to conceal the birth of a child

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The Independent Online

A vicar and a 28-year-old woman have been arrested on suspicion of murder, sex offences and conspiracy to conceal the birth of a child.

The Reverend Jim Percival, the vicar of Holy Trinity Parish Church in the Lancashire village of Freckleton, and the woman – who is reported to be his daughter – are being questioned by police following the mystery death of a baby boy in their house. The cleric’s 64-year-old wife, Susan, was also questioned on suspicion of conspiring to conceal the birth of a child. 

After the police discovered the body, the baby’s mother was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital where she was treated and later released. Following inquiries, the baby’s death then became suspicious.

The police investigation into the death follows a bizarre few weeks for Mr Percival. Last week, he disappeared and left a suicide note. But on Monday he made a public appearance to turn on the village Christmas lights.

The following morning, the vicar, his wife and the woman were all taken into custody, where they are still being held. Tests are now being carried out to try to establish exactly how the baby died.