A body found in the River Severn in December has been confirmed as that of a missing retired priest from west Wales. Father William Welsford, 69, who had recently moved to Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire, disappeared around 2 December. His Ford Transit van was found abandoned at the River Severn near Gloucester, in December. Police have confirmed that Fr Welsford - who was also known by his Franciscan name, Fr Bonaventure, was on police bail at the time of his disappearance. He had been interviewed by them and social services over allegations into abuse at children's homes in the Manchester area. In particular, he had been questioned about alleged events dating from the mid-1970s at the All Saints Home in Barton, Trafford. Gloucester Police said there appeared to be no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death. Fr Welsford, who had retired from his post in mid Wales two months ago due to ill health, had been due to report to Milford Haven Police Station in the new year. Police were alerted around 14 December, when he failed to turn up on a pre-arranged holiday to Dublin. Provost David Bottrill, the vicar general of Menevia in south Wales, said Fr Welsford initially joined the Franciscan in south Wales in the 1960s before moving to the secular priesthood. He was with the Diocese of Menevia for around three years. He later moved to Carmarthen and then to Presteigne, in Powys, where he worked for eight years until his retirement.
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