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'Stressed' vicar found hanged in woodland

Published 18/07/2015

Police are not searching for anyone else in connection with the incident
Police are not searching for anyone else in connection with the incident

A vicar found dead in woodland near his home is believed to have killed himself.

Rev Christopher Loveless, the vicar of Warnham, West Sussex, was found hanged when Sussex Police responded to concerns about his welfare yesterday evening.

The 53-year-old is said to have been "struggling with stress" at the time of the incident, according to a statement from the diocese of Chichester.

He leaves a wife and two children.

Police are not searching for anyone else in connection with the incident which has been described as non-suspicious.

Bishop of Horsham Mark Sowerby said the diocese would be praying for his wife Natalie and their two children as well as for Mr Loveless, who spent his whole ministry in the diocese.

An Oxford graduate who studied at Lincoln Theological College, he was ordained priest in 1992 and served as vicar of Warnham for 15 years.

Mr Sowerby said: "Christopher Loveless was a talented and experienced parish priest who was much loved in the parish of Warnham, where has had served since 1999.

"His sudden death comes as a profound blow not only to his family and the people of Warnham, but to the many friends who loved and admired him and to all who benefited from his gentle pastoral care.

"May he rest in God's peace."

In a statement, Sussex Police said: "The vicar of Warnham, Christopher Loveless, was found hanged.

"We were contacted shortly before 8pm on Friday with a report that a 53-year-old man had gone missing from his home in Warnham.

"Officers searched the area and they found the body of a man at about 9pm in the woods near Tilletts Lane in Warnham.

"The death is not being treated as suspicious. The coroner's officer has been informed."

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