Thornbury vicar murder: Police want to trace man

John Suddards
Image caption John Suddards was found inside the vicarage by builders on Tuesday

Police investigating the murder of a vicar have appealed for a man seen near the vicarage on Monday evening to contact them.

John Suddards, 59, was stabbed to death in the vicarage alongside St Mary's Church in Thornbury, near Bristol.

Officers say they want to track down a man seen sat outside the church between 18:00 and 20:00 GMT who was wearing dark clothing.

A 43-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

He is being questioned by officers who have been granted a further custody extension to detain him.

The man police are trying to trace is described as being of average build and was seen sitting on the pavement outside the church.

Det Ch Insp Simon Crisp said: "We think this man may be able to help us. If you were passing by please get in touch.

'Help investigation'

"Were you out walking your dog that night or were you returning home from work? Did you notice anybody sitting on the pavement around this time?

"Please take a few seconds to think back to what you were doing on Monday night. Even if you think what you saw is insignificant it could help us with our investigation."

Earlier, a church service took place to commemorate the life of Mr Suddards.

The Bishop of Gloucester, Michael Perham, led the service at the town's Baptist church.

Mr Suddards moved to the Thornbury parish six months ago following a 10-year spell in the Diocese of Chelmsford in Essex.

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

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

Friday's service aimed to give parishioners and the town "an opportunity to come together at this difficult time".

It will also "give thanks for John's friendship and ministry", a spokesman said.

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