Daily Mail UK by Staff Posted Sun., July 30, 2017
A senior Church of England vicar who was being investigated by police has died after unconfirmed reports that he set fire to himself.
The Rev Martyn Neale, 60, (pic above) a member of the General Synod, was found dead at his rectory in the village of Hawley, Hampshire, on Tuesday. Friends described Father Neale, who was not married and lived alone, as a ‘quietly-spoken but caring’ priest who had worked as the vicar for Hawley, in the Diocese of Guildford, for 20 years.
The diocese said he had been suspended ‘as a consequence of an ongoing police investigation’.
Father Neale became a member of the Church’s ‘parliament’, the General Synod, earlier this year and recently attended his first meeting in York. A prominent traditionalist, he was a council member of the pressure group Forward in Faith, which opposes women priests.
Two weeks ago his congregation at Holy Trinity was told that he had been suspended pending the outcome of the police inquiry, but no details were given.
He was made a canon of Guildford Cathedral in 2015. The diocese said yesterday: ‘We were very sorry to be informed by police of the death of a man at the rectory in Hawley, believed to be Father Martyn Neale.’
Hampshire police said the death ‘was not being treated as suspicious’ and a file was being prepared for the coroner.