Doomed love affair led priest to suicide

Doomed love affair led priest to suicide

Father Sean Seddon

Times of London ( TL ) – Thursday, November 4, 1993
By: Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent Section: Home news

A ROMAN Catholic priest who fell in love with a teacher committed suicide by throwing himself under a train, it was disclosed yesterday.

Father Sean Seddon , 38, former parish priest of St Mary’s in Abertillery, Gwent, threw himself on a railway line last September after being treated for depression, the inquest into his death was told yesterday.

Earlier, he had bought a can of petrol and had intended to douse himself with it and set himself alight.

According to local residents, he had fallen in love with a teacher who became pregnant, and his death came after he learnt that she had lost the baby. Villagers refused to divulge the woman’s name.

One said: “This has been a tragedy for all of us who knew and loved Fr Seddon, but most particularly for this young woman. She has lost the man she loved, her baby and her job. She needs all the support we can give her.”

The inquest, at Tewkesbury, was told that a psychiatrist had diagnosed a “reactive depression” but did not think Fr Seddon was suicidal. His love affair was not referred to in court. No relatives or church officials appeared and all evidence was heard in the form of statements read aloud.

The inquest was told that Fr Seddon had been adopted as a baby and grew up in Chepstow, Gwent. He was “a great walker and sportsman”, entered a Catholic seminary on leaving school and was ordained 14 years ago.

Father Terence Burke, of the Servants of the Paraclete at a rehabilitation centre near Stroud, which treats Catholic priests for alcohol and sexual problems, described Fr Seddon’s last days in a statement read to the court.

“We would go out together and we spoke a lot about his troubles. It was clear he was suffering from severe depression and found it difficult to come to terms with his problems.”

“On his last day with us, I was with Sean a great deal. In the morniny he received a letter from someone in his former parish related to his difficulties. After reading it he was devastated. He was full of remorse and self-accusation,” the statement said.

Fr Seddon’s father, Donald Seddon, said the death was a devastating blow to the family. “We have not come to terms with it”.

Verdict: suicide.

Jan Currie was Sean Seddon’s girl friend.
Read her side of the story!

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