[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 28 October, 2004, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
Priest is cleared of sex charges
Neil Horan performs his jig outside court
Neil Horan performed a jig outside the Old Bailey
A Roman Catholic priest has been found not guilty of indecency with a seven-year-old girl.

An Old Bailey jury took just an hour to clear Neil Horan, 57, from Nunhead, south London.

He then performed an Irish jig in his Irish national costume outside the court in celebration.

Mr Horan, who disrupted the men's Olympic marathon this year, denied exposing himself to the girl in his bedsit in 1991.

He has not worked in a church for 10 years but stages stunts to publicise his beliefs about the second coming and the end of the world.

He stepped in front of the leader in the men's Olympic marathon race, possibly costing him the gold medal.

And last year he was jailed for two months for disrupting the British Grand Prix race at Silverstone by running on to the track in front of speeding cars.

As for the women who accused me, I wish them well
Neil Horan
During the trial, the prosecution said it was claimed the priest stripped out of his vest and green underpants and chased the girl around the room, before lying on the floor.

Mr Horan agreed he was naked but denied getting the child to touch him.

During his defence, Mr Horan broke down after calling on God to "strike me down" if he was lying.

After being cleared, he said: "It is the happiest day of my life.

No more disruption

"As for the women who accused me, I wish them well.

"But there is a lesson to be learned for other priests, who should be careful not to get too close to women they deal with."

Horan said he would not be disrupting any more sporting events.

A statement by the Archdiocese of Southwark said: "Neil Horan's faculties to practise as a priest were formally withdrawn on health grounds."




FROM OTHER NEWS SITES:
The Sun 'Indecency' priest cleared - 30 hrs ago
MSNBC Olympic priest on trial - 52 hrs ago
Guardian Unlimited Irish priest who disrupted Olympics in abuse trial - 52 hrs ago
Reuters UK Disruptive priest on abuse charge - 54 hrs ago
Sky News 'Protest Priest' Faces Child Indecency Charge - 26 Oct 2004
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



SEE ALSO:


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific