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Last Updated: Monday, 11 December 2006, 19:28 GMT
Bishop incident was 'not mugging'
Bishop of Southwark Tom Butler
The bishop suffered a badly bruised head
Police have said they are not treating an incident involving the Bishop of Southwark as a mugging.

The Right Reverend Tom Butler suffered head injuries and lost his mobile phone and briefcase after a drinks reception at the Irish embassy on 5 December.

He reported the matter to police thinking he was robbed near his home in Streatham, south London.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said it was not being treated as a mugging but as a case of missing property.

Paul Sumpter was playing pool in a bar on, ironically, Crucifix Lane, in Bermondsey, when he heard his car alarm sound.

Baby toys

"I rushed out there and I saw an old looking guy with his legs hanging out the back of my car," said the property developer.

"My baby's toys were in the back seat and I could see him chucking them all about the place."

There was even a Ruth Rendell novel -- that was title End in Tears -- which was quite ironic
Paul Sumpter
After "dragging" him away, the man initially revealed himself as the Bishop of Woolwich before falling on the pavement and knocking his head which left him unconscious for about five minutes.

Mr Sumpter called an ambulance but the man left the scene before emergency crews arrived.

It was only days later that Mr Sumpter's wife discovered a briefcase belonging to Mr Butler, containing among other things, emails from the MoD and a letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

"There was even a Ruth Rendell novel - that was titled End in Tears - which was quite ironic. Plus it was in Crucifix Lane the whole thing happened as well."

In The Guardian newspaper the bishop is reported as saying: "The problem is, I don't remember anything. This has been a difficulty from the start.

A supposition

"I told the police I arrived home without my briefcase and with bruising on my face and a gash on the back of my head.

"I went to the doctor the next day and was told my injuries were consistent with a blow to the head, so I assumed I had been mugged, but that's a supposition. I am hoping the police will be able to be clearer."

On Monday, a spokesman for Mr Butler said: "The Bishop of Southwark attended a reception in Belgravia on Tuesday evening. He left the reception to travel home by public transport.

"When he arrived home he was without his briefcase and mobile phone and had several fresh head wounds. He reported the matter to the police and sought medical attention."

The spokesman said Mr Butler would not resign over the incident.

An eyewitness describes what he saw


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