Ilford vicar brawled with police and paramedic after alcohol binge

Fr Gareth Jones says he is glad his dark secret is out

Fr Gareth Jones says he is glad his dark secret is out - Credit: Archant

A Church of England vicar shouted “I’m from the Vatican, you’re ******” as he brawled with police after a vodka-fuelled nightclub binge.

Priest Fr Gareth Jones, 36, who serves at St Mary the Virgin, High Road, Ilford, yelled “I have diplomatic immunity” as he punched, kicked, and bit a police officer and a paramedic who found him passed out in Soho on May 20.

When paramedic Ian Pollock gently shook the passed-out pastor, of South Park Road, Ilford, at 2.30am, to check he was all right, he awoke and growled “I am going to **** you up”.

Jones threatened to attack him but was unable to stand up after drinking three bottles of wine, several pints of beer, a number of gin and tonics and vodka during a binge.

He then lashed out and kicked the emergency worker twice in the leg.

Mr Pollock mounted the violent vicar in a desperate attempt to subdue him.

“Two police officers on the other side of the road see what’s going on,” said prosecutor Edward Aydin.

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As they tried to hold Jones’ legs, he kicked Pc Andrew Fletcher in the left cheek and claimed he was from the Vatican embassy to avoid arrest.

Today at Highbury Magistrates’ Court he pleaded guilty to two counts of assault by beating.

The court heard Jones has previous convictions for communicating a false bomb hoax, affray, possession of cannabis, fraud, criminal damage, and driving matters, all before he was 21.

Mitigating, Dominic Hockley said Jones was seeking help for alcoholism.

He said: “The drinking had moved on from social drinking with his wife to something far more devastating.

“He is deeply ashamed, he is entirely remorseful.”

Judge Robin McPhee ordered Jones to pay £700 in fines, £200 compensation to Pc Fletcher, £200 compensation to Mr Pollock, £85 prosecution costs and a £35 victim surcharge.