Late priest who served in Sunderland was under police investigation before death

A priest who served Wearside communities found dead at the weekend was under investigation by police before his death it has been confirmed.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 4:49 pm

The Reverend Canon Michael McCoy died in Newcastle on Saturday, April 10, with the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle issuing obituary details as others from the church and his former parishes paid tribute to the 57-year-old.

Ordained in September 1989, he served Catholic parishes including St Benet’s in Monkwearmouth, St Anne’s in Pennywell and St Joseph’s in Milfield, as well as Our Lady Queen of Peace in Penshaw, Our Blessed Lady Immaculate in Washington, as well as others in Gateshead.

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Father Michael McCoy.

The last post of Fr McCoy, who studied at the English College in Rome, had been as canon at St Mary’s Cathedral, close to Central Station in Newcastle.

Fr McCoy’s death has has been referred to Newcastle’s Coroner’s Office, with no opening date for his hearing yet confirmed.

Today, the diocese, which covers Sunderland, said: “Following the sad news of the death of Canon Michael McCoy on April 10, 2021, the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle calls for prayers to be offered for the repose of his soul and for his family at this painful time.

"No further comment is available concerning the circumstances of his death.

“The Safeguarding Department of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle continues to cooperate fully with Northumbria Police to assist with their investigation in respect of Canon McCoy.

“No further comment is available at this time.”

The Right Reverend Robert Byrne, the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, shared news of Fr McCoy’s death through the cathedral’s Facebook page on Sunday.

Northumbria Police said it would not confirm where reported offences are alleged to have happened.

A spokesperson said: "We can confirm we received concerns about a named individual and inquiries were ongoing to establish if any criminal offences had been committed.

"The man had not been arrested or interviewed under caution, but on April 10 we received a report he had been found deceased at an address in Newcastle.

“There are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances around the man's death and a report has been prepared for the coroner."

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