Sir David Amess: Catholic priest who sought to give last rites to British lawmaker says he respects police decision

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

London, England, Oct 18, 2021 / 05:00 am

Sir David Amess: Catholic priest who sought to give last rites to British lawmaker says he respects police decision

Belfairs Methodist Church, Leigh-on-Sea, EssexBelfairs Methodist Church, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex./ David Howard (CC BY-SA 2.0).

By CNA Staff

London, England, Oct 18, 2021 / 05:00 am

A Catholic priest said on Sunday that he respected the police’s decision not to grant him access to a crime scene to give the last rites to the British lawmaker Sir David Amess.

In a now-deleted video posted to his Twitter account on Oct. 17, Fr. Jeff Woolnough said he hoped that his remarks would be the “end of the matter.”

The pastor of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, went to Belfairs Methodist Church on Oct. 15 after he heard that the Catholic Member of Parliament had been stabbed during a meeting with constituents.

A police officer outside the church relayed his request to enter the building, but the priest was not admitted inside. He prayed the rosary outside the police cordon instead.

“Yes, I was refused entry but I respected that decision by the police, I had to, and the fact that I was praying the rosary — end of the matter,” Woolnough said in the brief video recorded in a car.

“If anyone continues to want to criticize me for that, then that’s your right to do it, but this is what actually happened, OK.”

He said he was “astounded” that his conversation with the police was reported in the media.

“I did not go to the press, just to let you know, and God bless you all on this tricky time,” he commented.

Police arrested a 25-year-old man at the church on suspicion of murder. The BBC reported that the suspect, currently being held at a London police station under the Terrorism Act 2000, is Ali Harbi Ali, a British national of Somali descent.

The BBC said that the suspect was previously referred to the Prevent scheme, which seeks to stop radicalization.

Essex Police said in an Oct. 16 statement: “As with any police incident, it is of the utmost importance that we preserve the integrity of a crime scene and allow emergency services to tend to those in need.”

“A cordon is put in place to secure and prevent contamination of the area. Access into a scene is at the discretion of the investigating officers. This is a fundamental part of any investigation to ensure the best possible chance of securing justice for any victim and their family.”

“A cordon can also be used to restrict an area for emergency services to administer potentially life-saving medical treatment in as much privacy as possible and to allow officers to confirm that an area is safe to enter.”

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