Teen's trauma told for the first time

A GRIEVING widow today told of the devastating effects suffered by her 17-year-old son who battled in vain to save his suicidal father from a burning car.

A GRIEVING widow today told of the devastating effects suffered by her 17-year-old son who battled in vain to save his suicidal father from a burning car.

Diane Pugh has today given her first ever interview since her husband and church minister John Pugh killed himself outside the family home.

Tomorrow will be the first anniversary of the horrific incident in which their 17-year-old son Barnabas desperately tried to save his father from a burning car parked in front of their house in Temple Road, Stowmarket.

Mrs Pugh said: "It was an enormously traumatic time for Barnabas and one he will never forget."

Barnabas suffered burns when he smashed a window of the burning car in a desperate attempt to free his father. The injuries left him needing tretment at West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds.

The 54-year-old churchman had kissed his son fondly minutes before he killed himself.

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"Unfortunately it is something he will have to live with forever.

"But we have always been a very strong family unit and have supported each other completely with the help of loyal friends, family and colleagues."

Mrs Pugh, married to the Rev for 27 years, also said the church had helped her family through the tragedy and herself, Barnabas and daughter Rebecca, 21, were looking forward to a remembrance service at the town's United Reformed Church tomorrow .

"My children and I have prayed a lot over the past year.

"This has undoubtedly been the worst year of our lives and we are left with a gap that will never be filled.

"But I'm glad the church are acknowledging the past year and giving the community the opportunity to reflect."

The remembrance service is on the anniversary of Rev Pugh's death. He served at the church for 23 years.

Mrs Pugh, said: "The community is still feeling the loss of John and this service will not be the end - it's just an ongoing part of the terrible grieving process.

"He had a great affinity with people and was much admired and loved by young and old alike.

"The fact that more than 1000 people attended John's funeral demonstrated the support there was for him."

She added: "I couldn't begin to say what I miss most about him. My whole way of life has broken down.

"It's an uphill struggle and these last few days have been packed full of memories."

An inquest into the death found that Mr Pugh "took his own life while balance of his mind was disturbed".

It had surfaced he had been arrested five days before the fire accused of indecently assaulting a teenager in the late 80s. He had been released on bail pending investigations.

At the time Mrs Pugh vehemently denied the accusations saying she "could not understand these terrible allegations against him".

"We have absolute proof that they were not and could not have been true," she added.

The Pause for Prayer service on Thursday will begin at 9.30am and the church will be open until 12.30pm. It will reopen in the evening from 7pm with a shared worship from 8pm.

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