A married West Bromwich vicar had an adulterous affair with a parishioner who came to him to discuss her personal problems, a church disciplinary tribunal has found.

The five-strong tribunal ruled father-of-three Dr Patrick Okechi, from the Church of the Good Shepherd with St John, behaved in a manner "unbecoming or inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders".

In the judgment, Judge Grenfell said: "The complainant's case is that, following her approach to Dr Okechi about her personal problems and their becoming friends, their relationship developed into becoming a full sexual relationship as from about the spring of 2004 and continued until Dr Okechi ended it in early February 2006."

The judge went on: "The respondent's case is that there was never anything other than a simple friendship between them but that she became obsessed with him to the extent of following him and ultimately harassing him until about early 2006 when he ceased to have anything to do with her. She continued to make a nuisance of herself towards him."

According to the judgment, Dr Okechi had been the incumbent of the church since 2002 and had been married to his wife, Rael Ong'ute Otosio, known as Rachel, since 1988.

The hearing was told that the couple had three children and lived in the vicarage.

The judgment said Mrs A was a parishioner who had been separated from her husband for a number of years and had not attended the church until she went to a marriage blessing in December 2003.

The judgment said: "One Friday, as he left her house, he had put his arm around her and said he thought he loved her.

"The following Wednesday she went to the vicarage. No-one else was there. On the settee he put his arm around her and started to kiss her.

"She had pointed out she was 13 years older but he had said that did not matter. One thing led to another and 'we had sex'."

Earlier, in the main judgment, the tribunal heard how Mrs A had given evidence at the hearing in October. She described one incident in which "Dr Okechi came

round by car wearing just a dressing gown and 'flip flops', complaining that his wife had locked him out of the bedroom."

They had sex and he left.

Dr Okechi denied this, adding by way of detail, as confirmed by his wife, that he did not possess any flip flops.

The judgment said Mrs A described how the vicar invited her to funerals at the local crematorium and on other trips.

On one occasion she went to London with him to pick up a visa from the Czech Embassy. Dr Okechi tried to claim the woman had followed him despite numerous bus changes on his journey from the West Midlands.

The tribunal also referred to a letter Mrs A claimed she received from the vicar which started "My dearest SH" - a reference, she said, to "sweetheart".

But Dr Okechi denied sending the note.

The judgment said Dr Okechi told the court his marriage was happy at all times.  But, it said, there was an incident on December 2, 2005 when his wife called the police because her husband was drunk.

The vicar was arrested and, after a night in the cells, he was bound over to keep the peace at West Bromwich Magistrates' Court.

After this, the Bishop of Wolverhampton became involved and Dr Okechi told him his marriage had been in difficulty for the last seven years.

He also said the family had money worries and they had been arguing about money on the night he was arrested.

The judgment said the bishop took no further action, viewing it as a "storm in a teacup".

The tribunal said the vicar's wife first became suspicious of her husband after she saw Mrs A "touch him inappropriately".

The judgment concluded: "We had no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that Dr Okechi formed an inappropriate relationship with his parishioner, Mrs A."

The tribunal found Dr Okechi did have an adulterous relationship and his conduct was "unbecoming or inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders within section 8(1)(d) of the Clergy Discipline Measures 2003."

After the hearing, the vicar's lawyers said he did not wish to comment.