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Vicar arrested over death of baby boy is bailed

A vicar and members of his family arrested over the death of a baby boy in Freckleton, have been released on bail.

A Lancashire Police statement said:

The 64-year-old man and 28-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of murder and conspiracy to conceal the birth of a child and the 65-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to conceal the birth of a child have all been bailed until 5 March 2015.

– Lancashire Police Statement

Death of newborn baby - vicar and family members arrested

The parishioners in a village in Lancashire have been talking of their shock as police continue to question a vicar and his daughter about the death of a baby boy.

The vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Freckleton, the Reverend Jim Percival, and his daughter Ruth, who's 28, are being questioned on suspicion of murder and conspiracy to conceal the birth of a child.

The vicar's wife Susan is also being questioned on conspiracy to conceal the birth.

Ashley Derricott reports:

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Parishioners hold service for Lancashire baby death vicar

Shocked parishioners have said prayers at a church where their vicar is under arrest after a baby's body was discovered at a house in Lancashire.

Reverend Jim Percival, 64, the vicar of Holy Trinity CE Church in Freckleton, was arrested earlier this week with his wife Susan, 64, and daughter Ruth, 28, after the suspicious death of a baby boy.

Mr Percival and his daughter are being questioned on suspicion of murder and conspiracy to conceal the birth of a child.

His wife is being quizzed on suspicion of conspiracy to conceal the birth of a child.

Locals in the picturesque village close to the Fylde coast spoke of their shock.

Holy Trinity CE Church in Freckleton Credit: Google Maps

Parishioners said prayers for the vicar and his family at the service led by Reverend Terry Scholz, also from Holy Trinity Church.

"I simply said they could not be unaware of the tragedy that had befallen them, Reverend Percival and his family," he said.

"And I reminded them of this coming Sunday's reading - that God came to John the Baptist not in the comfort of his sitting room, but in the darkness and scariness of the wilderness, and God will be with our church family in the wilderness and we must pray that we keep our faith and pray for the family."

Mr Scholz said it would be wrong to "jump to conclusions" and said the wider "Church family" of parishioners at Holy Trinity would now pull together.

He added: "They are all nice people and, like any family going through difficult times, they will pull together. Like any family when it's going through troubles, you close ranks. They are all upset and concerned."

The arrests on Tuesday came after police were called to an address in Freckleton - believed to be the vicarage - shortly before 6pm on November 25, exactly a week earlier, following an initial report that a woman had given birth to a stillborn baby.

A neighbour said: "It's all a bit of a shock. They are a quiet family. We only know them to say hello. I didn't even know the daughter was pregnant."

Mr Percival came to the parish from Great Harwood in Lancashire 11 years ago.

His daughter Ruth is believed to have previously worked in a care home.

"When police attended, the body of a newly-born baby boy was discovered at the address and an investigation was launched. The baby's mother, a 28-year-old woman, was taken by ambulance to Blackpool Victoria Hospital, where she was treated and later released.

"Following numerous inquiries, the death of the baby boy is now being treated as suspicious.

"A post-mortem examination has been carried out and the cause of death is currently inconclusive. Further tests are now being carried out to try to establish exactly how the baby died.

"A 64-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman from Freckleton have been arrested on suspicion of murder, conspiracy to conceal the birth of a child... and a 65-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to conceal the birth of a child. They are all currently in custody.

"The police investigation continues."

– Lancashire Constabulary

It is understood on Wednesday police were granted an additional 30 hours to question the three.

Vicar & daughter no longer being questioned over sex offences

Police investigating the death of a baby boy at Freckleton are no longer questioning a 64 year old man and 28 year old woman on suspicion of sex offences.

They remain in custody on suspicion of murder and conspiracy to conceal the birth of a child.

A 65 year old woman remains in custody on suspicion of conspiracy to conceal the birth of a child.

Police continue to gather evidence in baby death inquiry

Police conduct inquiries in Freckleton Credit: Ashley Derricott ITV Granada

A vicar and his 28 year-old daughter are still being questioned on suspicion of the murder of a baby in Lancashire.

The Reverend Jim Percival was arrested after the body of a new-born boy was discovered at a house in Freckleton.

Both are also suspected of conspiring to conceal the birth of a child and sexual offences.

A team of officers continue to conduct their investigations Credit: Ashley Derricott ITV Granada

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Arrested vicar's neighbour: They are a quiet family

A police van was parked tonight outside Rev. Jim Percival's vicarage in a cul-de-sac in Freckleton, Lancashire, following his arrest over the suspicious death of a baby boy.

A sign for the parish church of the Holy Trinity Freckleton Credit: ITV News

A neighbour said: "It's all a bit of a shock. They are a quiet family. We only know them to say hello.

"I didn't even know the daughter was pregnant."

Rev. Percival's 28-year-old daughter Ruth is also being held over the death.

The vicar's wife, Susan, 65, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to conceal the birth of a child.

Vicar and family questioned over suspicious death of baby

A vicar, his wife and his daughter are being questioned over the suspicious death of a baby boy.

Sources confirmed that the Rev Jim Percival, 64, the vicar of Holy Trinity CE Church in Freckleton, Lancashire, was arrested earlier this week together with his 65-year-old wife Susan and 28-year-old daughter Ruth.

Mr Percival and his daughter are being questioned on suspicion of murder and conspiracy to conceal the birth of a child.

His wife is being quizzed on suspicion of conspiracy to conceal the birth of a child.

The arrests on Tuesday came after police were called to an address in Freckleton - believed to be the vicarage - shortly before 6pm on November 25 following an initial report that a woman had given birth to a stillborn baby.

In a statement, Lancashire Constabulary said: "When police attended the body of a newly-born baby boy was discovered at the address and an investigation was launched. The baby's mother, a 28-year-old woman, was taken by ambulance to Blackpool Victoria Hospital where she was treated and later released.

"Following numerous inquiries the death of the baby boy is now being treated as suspicious.

"A post-mortem examination has been carried out and the cause of death is currently inconclusive. Further tests are now being carried out to try to establish exactly how the baby died.

"A 64-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman from Freckleton have been arrested on suspicion of murder, conspiracy to conceal the birth of a child...., and a 65-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to conceal the birth of a child. They are all currently in custody.

"The police investigation continues."

It is understood police were tonight granted an additional 30 hours to question the three.

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