Freckleton vicar arrested over baby death

Holy Trinity Freckleton vicar James Percival
Holy Trinity Freckleton vicar James Percival
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A Lancashire vicar has been arrested on suspicion of murder following the unexplained death of a new-born baby.

James Percival, vicar at the Holy Trinity Church, in Freckleton, is being questioned by detectives investigating the death of a baby boy.

Police say the 64-year-old was arrested on Tuesday and was on Wednesday being held by police, along with two women believed to be his wife and daughter, 28.

None of them have been charged with any offence. Officers were initially called to an address on Sunnyside, Freckleton, on November 25 after a family member reported a stillbirth.

However, despite an inconclusive post mortem, police now say they believe the death was suspicious.

Mr Percival and his daughter, 28, were both arrested on suspicion of murder, conspiracy to conceal the birth of a child and sexual offences.

His wife was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to conceal the birth of a child.

Last night, a Lancashire Police spokesman said: “Shortly before 6pm on Tuesday, November 25, police were called to an address at Sunnyside, in Freckleton, following an initial report that a woman had given birth to a still-born baby.

“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 were arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of murder, conspiracy to conceal the birth of a child and sexual offences.

“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.”