Suffolk

Married Suffolk vicar steps down over affair

A married vicar is facing disciplinary action after telling church bosses he could "no longer deny" his love for a parishioner.

The Rev Michael Tillett stepped down as rector of three Ipswich churches after admitting a relationship with a woman who is also married.

In a statement, the pair said they regretted the "heartache" caused.

The St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese said Mr Tillett would face "statutory disciplinary procedures".

A diocese spokesman said: "The Rev Michael Tillett revealed the existence of an extra-marital relationship to a senior member of diocese staff late last week.

"Such an admission involves statutory disciplinary procedures which have been initiated.

"No further details can be given in order that these processes are not compromised."

'Peace and understanding'

A statement issued through the diocese on behalf of Mr Tillett and the woman said: "We felt that we had no choice but to be open about the love that we have - and still have.

"Realising the consequences for both our professional and vocational lives, we are spending some time away in an effort to take the spotlight off our relative families and to seek both peace and understanding amongst ourselves.

"We would value people's understanding and concern at this very difficult time for everyone but for all concerned the love that we have for one another is something we could no longer deny.

"We felt the only response was to tell people the truth."

Mr Tillett became a priest in 1999 and was curate at Framlingham and Saxtead from 1998 to 2001.

He went on to become priest in charge at Stoke-by-Nayland with Leavenheath and Polstead between 2001 and 2010.

He was also rural dean at Hadleigh from 2007 to 2010. In 2010, he became rector at three Ipswich churches.

The diocese said Mr Tillett was "standing down from all ministerial and parochial duties with immediate effect".

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