Bristol

Thornbury vicar murder: Police continue to question man

Reverend John Suddards
Image caption The Reverend John Suddards was found with "multiple stab wounds"

Officers are continuing to question a 43-year-old man on suspicion of murdering a vicar near Bristol.

The body of former barrister the Reverend John Suddards, 59, was found by builders at the vicarage next to St Mary's Church in Thornbury on Tuesday.

A post-mortem examination revealed Mr Suddards had died from "multiple stab wounds".

Police have until the early hours of Friday to question him before they need to apply to the courts for more time.

An initial 36-hour extension was granted on Wednesday.

A statement from Mr Suddards's family said they were "devastated by the news of John's untimely and shocking death".

Mr Suddards moved to the Thornbury parish six months ago and police have appealed for people who go to St Mary's Church to come forward.

Det Ch Insp Simon Crisp said he was "keen to speak to anybody" who had seen the vicar after 12:30 GMT on Monday.

"Please don't let it rest on your conscience if you know something and you haven't told us, however small," he said.

'Absolutely devoted'

Mr Suddards joined the clergy 22 years ago following a serious car crash.

The vicar came to work in the Bristol area from the Diocese of Chelmsford in Essex, where he had served for 10 years.

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Media captionPolice have been searching drains near the vicarage

Before that, Mr Suddards served at Great Yeldham parish, 20 miles away from Witham.

The Reverend Simon Garwood, vicar at St Nicolas in Witham, Mr Suddards's former parish, said he was "absolutely devoted to the church".

The Archdeacon of Gloucester, Geoffrey Sidaway, said it could be "weeks or months" before a funeral takes place.

The Bishop of Gloucester will be visiting Thornbury on Friday evening for a short service.

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