CHURCH leaders have vowed to fully investigate claims that a married minister had a string of affairs and fathered an illegitimate child before committing suicide.

Reverend David Robertson, last year's Moderator of the Free Kirk, said the Free Church of Scotland is in "complete shock" over claims surrounding the Reverend Dr Iain D Campbell.

It has been claimed the 53-year-old father-of-three who was minister at the Point Free Church on the Isle of Lewis, took his own life after his wife Anne, 54, discovered the illicit relationships.

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Mr Robertson said the Church would investigate the claims about Mr Campbell, also a former Moderator, at presbytery level and that pastoral care would be given to those affected in the congregation.

He said: "The Church in the Western Isles will do what they can to help support the family.

"Local congregations are where the pastoral care will primarily take place.

"Any investigation will take place at a presbytery level in the Western Isles."

The Dundee minister, who followed on from Mr Campbell as editor of the church letter, said: "We don’t know any more than anyone else what is true and what is not true so that is why we will have to have a look at it.

“In terms of where we are at, we would always say anyway that our theology is such that we believe any human being can stumble and fall.

"I’m not in any position to make any kind of judgement and I think that’s basically the same for everybody else."

He added: "We will find out if the accusations against him were true or we may not find out.

"Our concern would be with those who are left alive who are involved and above all it’s a pastoral concern for all involved.

"This has been a complete shock to everybody in the Church because no one had any clue of this, and I’ve known Iain for years."

It is understood Mr Campbell's wife challenged him over up to seven affairs and the issue has been raised with the Free Kirk.

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The Free Church, known for its strict traditionalist stance, said it is investigating the claims and added: "We understand that members of the Church may have questions or concerns as a result of these allegations, which they are of course able to discuss with their local minister in complete confidence.”