Church of England 'take responsibility for what went wrong' after priest's suicide

Fr Alan Griffin, pictured in 2012 at St Mary's in Chelsea, London.(Photo: Friends Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham)

The Diocese of London and Lambeth Palace have expressed their "deep regret and sorrow" over their handling of abuse allegations against a priest who later committed suicide.

Fr Alan Griffin took his own life last November in the wake of the allegations.

A coroner's report last month found there was "no evidence" of wrongdoing on the part of the priest, and warned that other clergy could follow a similar path unless the Church of England took action.

"Father Griffin did not abuse children. He did not have sex with young people under the age of 18. He did not visit prostitutes. He did not endanger the lives of others by having sex with people whilst an HIV risk. And there was no evidence that he did any of these things. He was an HIV positive (viral load undetectable) gay priest," said coroner Mary Hassell.

In response, the Diocese of London and Lambeth Palace said they were committed to "change, ongoing learning and improvement", and would launch a Lessons Learned Review led by an independent reviewer.

"The Diocese of London and Lambeth Palace express their deep regret and sorrow at the death of Fr Alan Griffin," they said.

"We acknowledge that there were either poor processes or systems, or mistakes, that led to unreasonable pressures on Fr Alan and we take responsibility for what went wrong.

"This response is prepared to assure the Chief Coroner of the Diocese's commitment to change, ongoing learning and improvement."