The Reverend Jim Percival, 64 and his daughter Ruth, 28, have been arrested on suspicion of murder and conspiracy to conceal the birth of a child by police who are investigating the death of a newborn baby boy. Rev Percival’s wife, Susan, 65, is also being held on suspicion of conspiracy to conceal the birth of a child.
The three arrests came a week after police visited the Holy Trinity Parish Church vicarage in the village of Freckleton, Lancashire, following up on reports of a still birth.
Police released a statement confirming that the baby’s mother had received hospital treatment, but had since been released: “A post-mortem examination has been carried out and the death of the baby boy is now being treated as suspicious. The cause of death is currently inconclusive. Further tests are now being carried out to try to establish exactly how the baby died.”
As well as door-to-door enquiries, police are also searching the vicarage and its grounds as well as other gardens in the quiet suburban cul-de-sac which is made up of just four properties.
One local said: “The vicar has been here for some time and this is a complete shock” and it is understood that Reverend Percival, has been at the church, which dates from 1837, for 11 years. He also serves as Vice Chairman on Freckleton Church of England Primary School’s Governing Body.