Former Kettering priest found dead in car park

Father Joseph Williams

Father Joseph Williams

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A former Kettering Catholic priest has been found dead while out shopping.

Father Joseph Williams was discovered in his car in a supermarket car park on Monday.

It is believed he had gone to Morrisons in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, on December 27.

His body was not discovered until three days later.

The 42-year-old was assistant priest at St Edward’s in Kettering from 2002 to 2006.

Canon John Koenig, parish priest at St Edwards, said he had been shocked to hear of the death of his friend.

He said: “I am devastated.

“I have kept up with him since he left and I had known that he hadn’t been very well but he was only 42 so this is a real shock.

“People in the parish are terribly upset at the news.

“He was a very talented speaker and always did his sermons without notes, something that I cannot do.”

It is believed Mr Williams, known as Father Joe, died of natural causes.

Mr Koenig said: “It seems that people thought he may have gone on holiday, which is perhaps how he wasn’t found for so long.

“The circumstances are very upsetting and our parishioners here are upset.”

He added that a mass would be said in Father Joseph’s memory.

Ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 2000, Father Joseph served in Burnham then Kettering before moving to Biggleswade in 2006.

He served as the parish priest of Our Lady of Lourdes in Milton Keynes from 2008, and he moved to St Martin de Porres, Luton, in 2011, where he was parish priest until his death.

Bishop of Northampton the Right Rev Peter Doyle, writing on his website, said: “Although there has to be a post-mortem examination, it would seem that he died of natural causes.

“Please pray for the repose of Joe’s soul, for his family and for his parish. May he rest in peace.”

A memorial service for Mr Williams will be held at St Edward’s Church, Kettering, on Tuesday, January 14, from 7.30pm.

His funeral will be at his parish church in Luton at 1.30pm on Thursday, January 16.