Nick Price, head of the Crown Prosecution Service’s Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said on Oct. 21: “We will submit to the court that this murder has a terrorist connection, namely that it had both religious and ideological motivations.”
Fr. Jeff Woolnough, the pastor of St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Eastwood, in Leigh-on-Sea, said that he rushed to Belfairs Methodist Church on Oct. 15 after he heard that Amess had been attacked.
A police officer outside the church reportedly relayed his request to enter the building, but the priest was not permitted to enter. He prayed the rosary outside the police cordon instead.
Paramedics attended to Amess, who was stabbed multiple times, for more than two-and-a-half hours before an air ambulance arrived to take him to hospital.
The BBC reported on Oct. 25 that Woolnough was forced to delete his Twitter account after receiving criticism.
“Most people have been so kind with messages of support, others have accused me of capitulating at the scene,” he said.
“The police have a job to do. When I say I have to respect it, it doesn’t mean I agree with it.”
“But I have to respect as a law-abiding citizen that the police would not allow me in and I had to find plan B, and plan B for me was prayer, and I had to pray on the spot, pray on the rosary.”
Woolnough said that he had spoken with “some really top priests in the hierarchy” who assured him that he “did the right thing.”
In the wake of Sir David’s death, Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury, western England, called for greater recognition of the last rites as an “emergency service.”
“Every believing Catholic desires to hear Christ’s words of pardon and absolution for the last time; to be strengthened by the grace of anointing; accompanied by the assurance of the Church’s prayer and whenever possible to receive Holy Communion,” he said on Oct. 19.
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“This is something well understood in hospitals and care homes, yet the events following the murderous assault on Sir David Amess suggest this is not always comprehended in emergency situations.”
“I hope a better understanding of the eternal significance of the hour of death for Christians and the Church’s ministry as an ‘emergency service’ may result from this terrible tragedy. May Sir David rest in peace.”