A PRIEST at a Leeds church was found murdered at her home hours before police discovered the body of her husband at a North Yorkshire beauty spot.
The body of the Rev Susan Lancaster, 67, a mother-of-two known locally as Louise, was found last night at her semi-detached property in Talbot Avenue in Rounday.
Officers from West Yorkshire Police went to the property after their counterparts in North Yorkshire were contacted by a man, understood to be her husband Roy Lancaster, 54, saying he had killed his wife.
The call also raised concerns for the welfare of Mr Lancaster and after a hunt by both forces he was found at 2.30am today at the foot of Malham Cove, a natural limestone formation in North Yorkshire.
Mrs Lancaster is understood to be involved with the nearby St Edmund’s Church in Roundhay, whose website lists her as an ‘associate priest’.
Police say they are not treating Mr Lancaster’s death as suspicious and are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.
The Rev David Paton Williams, Vicar of St Edmund’s, said: “To hear of the deaths of Louise and Roy Lancaster has been a profound shock.
“They were both active members of St Edmund’s church and Louise was also a part-time priest; she shared in the ministry here by taking services and helping in other ways, such as taking communion to people in their homes.
“She was a deeply prayerful person who was held in great affection by members of the congregation.
“Although it’s a terrible sadness for the church family at St Edmund’s, Louise had two daughters and three young grandchildren and at the moment they are the ones who are uppermost in our prayers.”
Detective Superintendent Simon Atkinson, of West Yorkshire Police Protective Services (Crime), said: “We have been in contact with the couple’s family and our enquiries are ongoing. As we said earlier, we are not looking for anyone in connection with this incident.”
Neighbours living near Mrs Lancaster on Talbot Avenue, less than a hundred metres from Allerton Grange High School, today spoke of their shock at the death.
Beata Stasiak, 52, said: “Sometimes we said hello and sometimes we would talk to her. They were very nice people. I know something has happened to him as well.
“It is strange and shocking. They are very nice people, most people on this street come and say hello. and ‘how are you’.”
Fellow neighbour Dee Mistry, 37, said: “I just saw them now and again. Every Christmas the thing I noticed was the lights on their house and the Christmas tree.
“It is really shocking, it is really disturbing. I heard all the alarms going off and didn’t know what happened. I know there have been a few burglaries on the street, I thought maybe there had been another burglary. It was going on all night.
“I thought either the alarm has gone faulty or it has gone off by accident. Other than this it is a friendly street.”
Mrs Lancaster’s next-door neighbour, who is understood to be her close friend, declined to speak at her door today.
Police were continuing to search the semi-detached house this afternoon, with forensic officers seen coming in and out of the property. Detectives were carrying out door-to-door enquiries with neighbours. A uniformed officer was stationed outside the house.