Fugitive vicar surrenders to police

The Church of England clergyman who absconded from court last week shortly before the jury handed down a guilty verdict on four counts of theft has turned himself in. On 23 July 2015 the Rev. Simon Reynolds left the Sheffield Crown Court during the lunch break after the jury had retired to deliberate on his case. Reynolds, the rector of St Andrews Church in Farnham, Surrey was accused of keeping £24,000 in fees for funerals, weddings and graveyard memorials whilst serving as priest in charge of All Saints Church Darton in the Diocese of Wakefield. The Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt. Rev. Tony Robinson, and other senior clergy urged Reynolds to turn himself in, while police feared he may have fled to the Continent. However, Reynolds surrendered to police in Sheffield on 27 July 2015. The Archdeacon of Pontefract, the Ven. Peter Townley, said after the verdict was handed down: “Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected by this crime. We deeply regret any further pain caused to those families who paid fees to Simon for funerals and our hope is that this conviction now affords some peace.”   The Archdeacon of Surrey, the Ven Stuart Beake, said: “I would like to pay tribute to the churchwardens at St Andrew’s Church who have led the parish through the vacancy before Simon’s arrival and then since his suspension just months later,” adding that “now that a verdict has been reached in the case, the parish can begin to plan for the future but we will have to await details of sentencing before determining the appropriate disciplinary outcome from the process Simon will face as a result of the conviction. Simon remains suspended, pending sentencing.”

 
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