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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.


Grandmother gives evidence in Freckleton fire trial

A woman whose four grandchildren died in a fire in Freckleton gave harrowing evidence in court today. It's claimed the fire was started deliberately by a family friend.

Christine Smith told the court she had left a party at the house in Lancashire angry because her daughter Michelle and 19 year old grandson Reece were drunk.

She had rushed back when she heard there was a fire and saw the blue flashing lights but couldn't get near the house.

Reece tried to rescue his two year old brother and their twin sisters - but all four died.

Dyson Allen denies four counts of murder. Elaine Wilcox reports.

Freckleton fire trial

Teenagers have told a court that they witnessed drinking, smoking and the taking of cannabis at a bungalow in Lancashire where 4 brothers and sisters died in a fire.

19 year Dyson Allen denies murdering the siblings.

Preston Crown Court heard claims that he was the only other person upstairs at the dormer bungalow when the blaze broke out.

Elaine Willcox reports.

Teenager on trial accused of murdering four siblings

A jury has been told of the desperate efforts to save four young brothers and sisters who died after a fire at their home in Lancashire.

Four year old twins Holly and Ella Smith, their two year old brother Jordan and their older brother Reece, who was 19, were killed in the blaze in January last year.

A family friend, 19 year old Dyson Allen, is on trial on four counts of murder.

Elaine Willcox reports.


Man charged with four counts of murder remanded in custody

Reece Smith, Holly and Ella and two-year-old Jordan Credit: ITV Granada

A 19-year-old man has appeared at Preston Crown Court today, accused of the murders of four siblings.

Reece Smith, his four-year-old twin sisters Holly and Ella and two-year-old Jordan died after a blaze swept through their home in Freckleton on January 7th.

Dyson Allen, who was charged with four counts of murder, has been remanded in custody until next March.

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