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Last Updated: Friday, 16 March 2007, 14:01 GMT
Man remanded after vicar killing
Father Paul Bennett
Father Paul Bennett was stabbed to death in his church grounds
A man has appeared in court charged with the murder of a vicar who was stabbed in the grounds of his church in the south Wales valleys.

Geraint David Evans, aged 23 and from the same village as the vicar, appeared at Aberdare Magistrates' Court.

He was remanded in custody until 23 March, when he will appear at Merthyr Crown Court.

Father Paul Bennett, 59, was killed at St Fagan's Church in Trecynon, near Aberdare, on Wednesday afternoon.

The defendant, who has dark hair and a beard and who wore a black tracksuit top, spoke only to confirm his name and address during the brief hearing on Friday.

No application for bail was made by his solicitor, Denny Bryant, and he was remanded in custody by magistrates' chairman Anthony Williams.

Police had been called to the church at around 1450 GMT on Wednesday where they found the body of the father-of-two and where they recovered a knife.

Geraint Evans
Geraint Evans has been remanded in custody

The family of Father Bennett, who was married with a son, daughter and grandson, have released a tribute.

They said in a statement: "Paul was a loyal son and a devoted husband, father and grandfather, who spent his whole life putting the thoughts and feelings of others ahead of his own.

"He lived his life for his people and cared deeper than anyone can imagine for his church.

"We loved him dearly and cannot imagine life without him. All we can hope and pray for is that he hasn't lost his life in vain."

Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan said Father Bennett left a "deep-rooted legacy of ministry".

He added: "The tributes paid over the past few days by his colleagues in the church and his parishioners are the true measure of the work Father Paul achieved.

"He was a quiet man who achieved respect and admiration for his devotion to the church.

"His life was tragically cut short but he leaves a legacy of ministry which is deep-rooted and which will support the community during this difficult time."

"We loved him dearly and cannot imagine life without him."

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