Husband of Leeds priest told police: I’ve killed my wife

The husband of a Leeds priest found murdered at her home called police to say he had killed his wife - hours before his own body was discovered at a North Yorkshire beauty spot, an inquest heard today.

Friday, 1st August 2014, 3:24 pm
The Rev Louise Lancaster. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

Rev Susan Lancaster, 67, a mother-of-two known locally as Louise, was found dead on July 17 at home in Talbot Avenue, Roundhay.

Det Spt Simon Atkinson of West Yorkshire Police, told today’s hearing: “At around 10.03pm on July 17 we were contacted by our colleagues at North Yorkshire Police after they had received a call from a man, believed to be Roy Lancaster, who said he had killed his wife and officers should go to their home where her body would be found.

“Entry was forced to the property and in an upstairs bedroom the body of a female was found.”

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The call also raised concerns for the welfare of Mr Lancaster and, after a hunt by both forces, he was found at 6.30pm on July 18 at the foot of Malham Cove.

Mrs Lancaster was an associate priest at St Edmund’s Church in Roundhay.

Coroner David Hinchliff said Mrs Lancaster’s death was confirmed on July 17 and a forensic post-mortem examination showed she had died of head injuries.

Det Spt Atkinson said they were not looking for anyone else in connection with Mrs Lancaster’s death and were not treating Mr Lancaster’s death as suspicious.

Mr Hinchliff said Mr Lancaster, 54, worked as an accountant, and a forensic post mortem examination gave a provisional cause of death as multiple injuries.

The inquests were adjourned pending further enquiries.

Neighbours on Talbot Avenue spoke earlier of their shock at the double tragedy.

Beata Stasiak, 52, said: “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: “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.”

Ian Kerry, a friend of the family from Roundhay, described Mrs Lancaster as “one of the nicest people you could wish to meet”.