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Minister faces axe over plagiarism

AN OXFORD University graduate's position as a church minister was in doubt last night after he was stripped of his theology degree for plagiarism.

The Rev Tom Sanders - who was jailed in 1987 for killing his wife - was publicly shamed last week for allegedly copying part of his thesis from other students' work.

Mr Sanders, in his fifties, is a minister in the Unitarian Church at Portsmouth, Hampshire. The church's London headquarters said yesterday that the ministry committee of its general assembly had discussed the matter last week. A spokesman added: 'A decision had been taken about Mr Sanders's future but we will not comment further until he has been formally notified.

It would certainly be within the committee's power to remove the minister from his role.'

Mr Sanders was jailed for three years in 1987 for strangling his wife, Sue, while his daughter Gayle, 12, looked on.

The former goalkeeper with Charlton Athletic served 11 months after denying murder but admitting manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Mr Sanders, who remarried last year, was not available to comment last night.