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Man arrested over vicar's murder

Police have been given more time to question a 43-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder after a clergyman was stabbed to death at his vicarage.

The Rev John Suddards, 59, was found with multiple wounds in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, said Avon and Somerset Police.

As the community mourned, a senior clergyman said the murder should act as a warning - that when clergy open their churches and homes to people, they become "vulnerable".

The Ven Geoffrey Sidaway, archdeacon of Gloucester, said: "Sadly, this event highlights the vulnerable nature of parish ministry in some of our communities today.

"Many clergy on a daily basis open their homes and their churches to people and clearly that can put them in a vulnerable situation."

The alarm was raised by workmen who arrived at the building on Tuesday morning and realised it was locked.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Crisp, who is leading the investigation, said: "I am in a position to confirm now that the body found yesterday in the vicarage was Reverend John Suddards.

"He suffered multiple stab wounds, and therefore this is now a murder investigation. A 43-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder."

Appealing for the help of Thornbury villagers, he said police "do not have a good understanding of his friends and family at the moment".

He said detectives were asking churchgoers to come forward to tell them what they knew about him, who visited him and who he associated with.

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