Belfast Telegraph

Man in custody following attack on Newry church

By Jane Scott

A 35-year-old man has been remanded in custody in connection with an attack on a church.

Evaldas Zidanavicius appeared in court yesterday charged with causing criminal damage to a Presbyterian Church in Newry.

Parishioners of First Presbyterian Church (Non Subscribing) in the city woke yesterday morning to the news that significant damage had been caused to a stained glass window of the church building. A church caretaker was notified of the incident by police at around 10.45pm on Tuesday.

It is understood that the damage runs into thousands of pounds and that the incident has caused deep distress to the congregation.

Police said they received a report of criminal damage at the church, located in the John Mitchel Place area of Newry, shortly after 10pm on Tuesday.

Zidanavicius, of no fixed abode, appeared before Newry Magistrates Court yesterday charged with criminal damage, after being arrested at the scene.

He was remanded in custody to Maghaberry Prison and is due to appear in court again on May 16.

The church's minister, Rev Norman Hutton, was at the scene yesterday to inspect the damage.

Local Ulster Unionist councillor David Taylor also visited to offer his support. He said: "First Presbyterian Church Non Subscribing Newry are an extremely active congregation who offer a very positive contribution to the local community including through their involvement in important charity work. "

Mr Taylor also urged local people to keep the church in their prayers. "I would call upon the local community to rally around the congregation of First Presbyterian Church Non Subscribing Newry and to offer their full support to members of the church."

Belfast Telegraph

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