BREAKING: Murder charge dropped as Freckleton baby death probe continues

Rev Jim Percival has been arrested on suspicion of child neglect following the death of a baby boy in November 2014
Rev Jim Percival has been arrested on suspicion of child neglect following the death of a baby boy in November 2014
0
Have your say

A 13-month murder inquiry in to the death of a baby boy in Freckleton has been dropped but a vicar and his daughter have again been quizzed by detectives in connection with the incident.

Reverend Jim Percival, 65, and his 29-year-old daughter Ruth were arrested on suspicion of child neglect and questioned yesterday.

Holy Trinity Church in Freckleton, where Rev Jim Percival was a vicar.

Holy Trinity Church in Freckleton, where Rev Jim Percival was a vicar.

They were both previously arrested on suspicion of murder and conspiracy to conceal the birth of a child but will not be charged with either offence.

The pair have now been bailed until February 16 while police continue their investigation.

The shock arrests came after police were called to Sunnyside, Freckleton, following reports a woman had given birth to a stillborn child on November 25, 2014.

They discovered the body of a newly born baby boy and launched a murder probe.

The vicar and his daughter were both arrested. Another woman was also arrested on suspicion of concealing the birth of a child but told she would face no further action a short time later.

Despite repeated post mortem examinations on the baby, the cause of death remains unexplained.

An inquest hearing in May heard the boy, named Jonathan, was born at around 3am but died soon afterwards.

Rev Percival, a vicar since 2003, and his daughter have spent the last year on bail.

A Lancashire Police spokesman said on Friday: “A 65-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman from Freckleton have been arrested and questioned on suspicion of child neglect.

“They were interviewed at a police station in the county during the course of yesterday and have been released on bail until February 16, pending further enquiries.

“Both the man and the woman had been previously arrested on suspicion of murder and conspiracy to conceal the birth of a child. Both have now been released no further action in respect of those offences.”