Police refused entry to priest to give last rites to dying MP 

Police refused a Catholic priest access to a MP who lay dying after being repeatedly stabbed so that he could administer the last rites. 

Sir David Amess, who died from his wounds, was known to be a devout Catholic, who had championed initiatives to protect the unborn child and support pregnant women, in addition to many animal welfare campaigns.

The Daily Mail reported that “as word spread, a Roman Catholic priest, Father Jeffrey Woolnough, arrived at the police cordon stretching across tree-lined Eastwood Road North, offering to administer the last rites to the devoutly Catholic MP.

He said: ‘The officers said that because it was a crime scene, and also the nature of the scene, it just wasn’t possible.’

In response to a question on Twitter, the priest confirmed that this was the case, and added that he had “prayed the rosary outside the Methodist church after being refused entry.

“I’m so very sorry that I was not allowed to minister to Sir David at the end- the police had their instructions which I have to respect and abide by,” he said.

The MP was stabbed by a man of Somali origin as he met with constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church. Police say they are treating the killing as a terrorist incident.

Editor of The Irish Catholic, Michael Kelly said that the refusal of the last rites must never happen again, and that the Home Secretary needed to give assurances on the issue. “There must never be a repeat of this cruel decision,” he said.

The MP was stabbed by a man of Somali origin as he met with constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church. Police say they are treating the killing as a terrorist incident.

Paramedics arrived on the scene within minutes and worked for two hours to save the 69-year-old father-of-five, but he died of his injuries.

Flags have been lowered to half-mast outside Parliament following his death. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics”, while former prime minister Theresa May described his death as “heartbreaking”.

His constituency website said that Sir David’s main interests and areas of expertise were animal welfare and pro-life issues.

Right to Life UK said: “Sir David’s death is a senseless tragedy and he will be truly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Julia and their five children”.

“Sir David was a pro-life champion. Since he was elected in 1983, he always, where possible, used his position as an MP to stand up for the vulnerable, including championing initiatives to introduce more protections for unborn babies and more support for women facing crisis pregnancies”.

Rishi Sunak, the British Chancellor, said: “The worst aspect of violence is its inhumanity. It steals joy from the world and can take from us that which we love the most. Today it took a father, a husband, and a respected colleague.”

A floral tribute laid at the scene read: “A silent thought, a quiet prayer, for a special person in God’s care. May you rest in peace.”

Penny Mordaunt, the trade minister, tweeted a video of Sir David giving a speech at the Royal Albert Hall after working to get 200 children with learning disabilities to play at the esteemed venue.

It showed the “measure of the man”, she said.

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