Hadleigh clergyman Martin Thrower arrested on suspicion of voyeurism

St Marys Church Hadleigh
Picture Mark Westley ANL-160830-170114009
St Marys Church Hadleigh Picture Mark Westley ANL-160830-170114009

A senior clergyman has been suspended after being arrested on suspicion of voyeurism.

The Very Rev Martin Thrower, 55, was quizzed by police earlier this month and released on police bail but has been unable to return to his duties at the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, Suffolk.

St Marys Church Hadleigh
Picture Mark Westley ANL-160830-170142009

St Marys Church Hadleigh Picture Mark Westley ANL-160830-170142009

His wife, Pauline Thrower, has issued a statement saying that her family was supporting him with “unconditional love” following his arrest.

It said: “It is with great sadness that we find ourselves in the situation we are now in.

“Whilst this has come as a shock to us as a family we are all supporting Martin with unconditional love at this difficult time.”

Mr Thrower has been rector of Hadleigh with Layham and Shelley, Suffolk, since 2009 and has since become Dean of Bocking and Rural Dean of Hadleigh, Suffolk.

John Howard, spokesman for the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, said: “I can confirm that The Very Rev Martin Thrower, Rector of Hadleigh, Layham and Shelley, and also rural dean of Hadleigh, has been arrested by Suffolk Constabulary for voyeurism.

“He has been suspended from all offices within the diocese until further notice. We have made arrangements to look after his church duties and to offer support to his parishes at this difficult time.

“We will make no further comment while the police investigation is ongoing.

“Our thoughts and prayers are very much with everyone affected by this situation.”

Mr Thrower attracted some controversy three years ago when he announced plans to remove many of the pews at St Mary’s Church, Hadleigh, Suffolk, to create a more flexible space.

The Victorian Society objected to the plans, but after getting permission from the church authorities this work was carried out - leading to the church being used much more by a wider variety of groups.

One of these is the Porch Project for youngsters from 11 to 20 who meet there twice a week for leisure activities.

Although it is backed by St Mary’s and meets there, it is a separate organisation and supports 300 youngsters in a town where there have been criticisms in the past of a lack of activities for young people.

At the time of the controversy over the pews Mr Thrower said: “Churches weren’t built with pews in - they were built to be the community space, to have the market in and host big meetings and we have an aspiration to return the building to being the true parish church.”

Suffolk Constabulary confirmed Mr Thrower was arrested on August 4 and has been bailed to return to the Police Investigation Centre in Martlesham in October.