Former St Joseph's College teacher Paul McAuley found dead in Peru
PUBLISHED: 14:57 06 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:34 07 April 2019
A Catholic activist found dead in Peru was a former teacher at a top Ipswich school it has been confirmed.
Paul McAuley taught at St Joseph’s College in Belstead Road in the late 1970s.
Mr McAuley, aged 71, known as Brother Paul to colleagues and friends, moved to Peru in 1995 and worked with indigenous people, campaigning for their human and environmental rights.
His reportedly burned body was discovered by students at the youth hostel he ran in Iquitos, a large city in the Peruvian Amazon.
In a tweet St Joseph’s College confirmed he was a former tutor at the independent day and boarding school whose former pupils include Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, musician Brian Eno and actor Richard Ayoade.
The tweet said: “We were saddened to learn of the tragic death in Peru of Brother Paul, former teacher at St Joseph’s College. He was working as an activist promoting the rights of the indigenous people. Requiescat in peace.”
Mr McAuley, originally from Portsmouth, is understood to have been awarded the MBE after setting up a school in a poor district of the South American country’s capital, Lima.
He was a member of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, a Catholic teaching order based in Rome.
St Joseph’s was founded in 1937 by the order, which runs educational institutions around the world.
In a statement Brother Jorge Gallardo De Alba, vicar general at the De La Salle, said: “The Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools communicates and laments the death of our Brother Paul McAuley, who was found dead on Tuesday, April 2, at the Intercultural Student Community La Salle in Iquitos, Peru, where he worked for more than 10 years.
“Brother Paul McAuley, president of the Loretana Environmental Network and advisor to the Peruvian Amazon Student Organization, was a well-known defender of the environment, fully identified with the reality of the Loreto Region and the problems of Indigenous Peoples.
“We have been informed that the Peruvian authorities are investigating the circumstances of his death. We are waiting for more information.
“We feel united with the Peruvian church, with the Bolivia–Peru District and with all the Lasallians.
“May he rest in peace.”
Mr McAuley is understood to have been a vocal critic of oil pollution and deforestation in the Amazon.