Irish priest’s strangle hell & second cleric rushed to hospital as horrific Dublin church robbery attack details emerge
- Published: 15:53, 23 Mar 2023
- Updated: 15:53, 23 Mar 2023
TWO priests are lucky to be alive after a robbery at a parish – during which one was strangled and another who came to his colleague’s aid suffered a fractured hip.
Gardai arrested a male after a vicious assault on parish priest Brian Starken, at the Church of Transfiguration in Bawnogue, Clondalkin, on Wednesday March 15.
Fr Brian managed to get a finger under a ligature around his neck, which momentarily released the attacker’s hand covering his mouth, allowing enough time to shout and raise the alarm.
He recounted: “Unfortunately, Fr Pat, who happened to be upstairs at the time, heard me and came down, and the guy attacked Fr Pat, who now has a fractured hip.”
Fr Brian also lost a tooth during the savage assault, and is lucky to be alive after the man attempted to strangle him with a ligature, fashioned from the arm of his jacket.
The priest is shaken from the ordeal but recovering, even presiding over a funeral the next day, but laments that Fr Pat is currently in Tallaght Hospital.
He added: “Fr Pat has a fractured hip. I’m a bit shook up, but in a way, I was glad to get on with things, and take my mind of it.”
The male called to the parish office on Wednesday evening, March 15, to talk to a priest.
Fr Brian said: “I just got back from preparing a funeral with a family. A guy knocked on the door. We have CCTV, I didn’t recognise him but he didn’t seem a threat, he was well groomed.
“He said stuff about depression. Told me he had been in prison for 20 years, couldn’t get a job, and misses the therapy he got in prison. It all seemed plausible.
“Then, he got up to go, I stood up and just like that, he turned around and attacked me. I couldn’t believe it. He had a ligature. I saw him fidgeting with his jacket when we were talking, he used the arm of that for a ligature, and had his hand over my mouth.
“I was wondering how I was going to survive. Somehow I got my hand inside the ligature, pulled at it, made a bit of progress, he then moved his hand off my mouth and I was able to shout out.”
The male then assaulted Fr Pat who arrived down to help, and robbed a paltry amount of cash from both priest’s wallets.
Gardai in Clondalkin confirmed that there has been an arrest.
A garda spokesperson said: “Gardai have charged a man (aged in his 40s) who was arrested in relation to two incidents of assaults and burglary that occurred at domestic residences on Wednesday, March 15, 2023.
“He has since been charged and appeared before the Criminal Courts of Justice, Friday March 17, 2023.”