Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Jail for thief tackled by three priests in pyjamas

A burglar who was rugby tackled and sat on by three elderly priests in their pyjamas has been sent to prison for two years.

In a scene reminiscent of the hit TV series Father Ted, Irish priests Fr Jimmy Shiel (67) and Fr Kieran Magovern (66), and Indian-born Fr Chacko Panathara (61), confronted career criminal Bradley Nelson (28) after he climbed up the drainpipe to their parochial home at St Mary's Church in Bedfordshire, England, in the early hours of October 9.

Fr Shiel, who had played rugby in his youth, tackled the intruder whom the priests had befriended in the past when he sought help for alcohol and drug addictions, Luton Crown Court was told.

"Jimmy woke to see this guy in his room. The burglar ran and Jimmy jumped out of bed and ran after him," Fr Magovern told the court. "Jimmy played a lot of rugby when he was young and he floored him."

Fr Shiel maintained a vice-like grip on the burglar, despite having undergone a heart bypass operation. The priests then sat on the burglar until police arrived.

Nelson, of Viceroy Court, High Street South, Dunstable, pleaded guilty to burglary with intent.

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