CofE vicar on bender claims Vatican immunity

A Church of England vicar on an alcohol-fuelled nightclub binge told police he was from the Vatican and had diplomatic immunity.

Rev. Gareth Jones of Ilford in London punched, kicked, bit and spat at a police officer and a paramedic who found him passed out in Covent Garden.

Prosecutor Edward Avdin said the vicar yelled at police during the struggle: “I have diplomatic immunity”.

“The officer says “which embassy?” and he says: “The Vatican, you’re f***ed”, Mr Avdin said.

“He is growling, makes no attempt to respond to a caution and continues to shout that he has diplomatic immunity.”

Mr Avdin added: “I’m not sure if he has anything to do with the Vatican because he is with the Church of England.”

The cleric, who had downed three bottles of wine and several other drinks before the incident, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault.

He was ordered to pay more than £1,000 in fines and compensation.

The court heard that Rev. Jones, 36, has previous convictions for communicating a false bomb hoax, affray, possession of cannabis, fraud, criminal damage, and driving matters, all before he was 21 years old.

“Mr Jones told me he had a misspent youth,” said Dominic Hockley, defending.

“He is deeply ashamed, he is entirely remorseful.”

The vicar will have to face an ecclesiastical court which may impose a lifetime ban on him serving the church after his conviction.

“It will mean that his position at his current church is in jeopardy and he will have to move out of the family home,’ said Mr Hockley.

“This will have huge implications on his career, family life and his home.”

Judge McPhee accepted that Rev. Jones was remorseful and said he had “turned his life around” after the convictions from his youth.

The vicar is said to be cooperating with Redbridge Alcohol Services and Alcoholics Anonymous as he seeks help with his alcoholism.


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