A Church of England vicar who was dismissed after being falsely accused of having an affair and getting a woman pregnant will now keep his job.

Reverend William Bulloch was dismissed from St James the Great, Leigh, at a tribunal last year after a misconduct hearing found he failed to refer the woman to the safeguarding team and swore at her.

A judgement following an appeal at the Court of Arches of Canterbury ruled Mr Bulloch would only face a rebuke and that the original punishment was "excessive".

He will also undergo a series of training courses over the next six months, including anger management.

The court heard that the woman, referred to as "AB", met Mr Bulloch in 2015 where a "pastoral relationship" developed, including with his wife and family.

During 2016 and 2017, AB seemed to become unwell and later said she was terminally ill.

Mrs Bulloch was visiting the outpatients department at the hospital when she saw AB walking normally.

After confronting AB, Mrs Bulloch was met with "hysterical" behaviour, which led to Mr Bulloch telling AB he could no longer be in contact.

AB then alleged Mr Bulloch had sexual relations with her and that she was pregnant with his baby, but later claimed she had an abortion.

She then turned up to the church in April 2017 with an urn, labelled to suggest it contained the remains of the baby.

AB made secret recordings of her telephone and face-to-face conversations with AB - where Mr Bulloch swore 28 times in one conversation and 13 times in another.

At the tribunal last year, it was established that while Mr Bulloch had not had an affair, he acted "extremely naively" and that his work as a priest in the parish had been "fundamentally undermined" by his misconduct.