Tuesday 16 January 2018

That's mad, Ted! Priest rugby-tackles intruder

TWO priests, originally from Clontarf in Dublin, have been celebrated as local heroes in England after they confronted and apprehended an intruder at their presbytery.

At 2am on Sunday, October 9, Fr Jimmy Shiel (67) awoke to hear someone clambering up a drainpipe at the priest's home in Dunstable.

He leapt out of bed before chasing and then rugby-tackling the alleged intruder to the ground.

"Jimmy didn't think twice" said Fr Kieran Magovern (66), who also played his part in the ordeal.

He continued: "He (Fr Shiel) instantly went for the guy and brought him down. He played a lot of rugby when he was younger and he used it."

Once the intruder had been grounded, Fr Magovern was tasked with sitting on him until police arrived.

He said: "I had my knee in his back and shoulder and a third priest, Fr Chacko Panathara, also helped to prevent the man from running off. It was all a bit mad really -- there we were ringing the police on the mobile phone from right beside where the chap was pinned down."

Police raced to the site of the break-in within minutes and arrested the alleged intruder.

Fr Shiel and Fr Magovern grew up together in Clontarf and attended St Paul's College in Raheny, where the former's rugby skills were first developed.

The boyhood friends left St Paul's in the early '60s and joined the Vincentians order.

After time spent teaching in UCD, at St Mary's University in Twickenham, London and in Armagh, Fr Magovern moved to the St Mary's parish in Dunstable 16 years ago.

A 28-year-old man was remanded in custody by a judge at Luton Magistrates' Court last week to appear before a sitting of the crown court at the end of the month.

Irish Independent

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