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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 September 2006, 12:39 GMT 13:39 UK
Horrific betrayal of church trust
By Alex Robertson
BBC Scotland news website
Glasgow and West reporter

St Patrick's church
Police have closed St Patrick's church while investigations continue
St Patrick's church in Glasgow is a refuge, its parish is truly global.

Its community stretches far beyond the granite grey high-rises of Anderston and the M8 motorway on its doorstep.

Father Gerry Nugent - "utterly shattered" by the discovery of a body in his church - is facing the prospect of a breach of trust.

As a post mortem examination is held to determine whether the body is that of missing Polish student Angelika Kluk, the hunt for the church's odd job man

goes on.

"Pat McLaughlin" - real name Peter Tobin, 60 - was taken in by Fr Nugent and given odd jobs to do about six weeks ago.

In St Patrick's he met Ms Kluk, 23, who had been living in the church during a working holiday to fund her studies in Gdansk.

Tobin is a registered sex offender. He had raped a 14-year-old girl.

He was the last man seen with Ms Kluk.

St Patrick's hit the headlines last week when two failed asylum seekers sought refuge in the church.

It operated a support group for asylum seekers called A Voice for the Voiceless.

'Last refuge'

Masih Raymond, 49, and his wife Christine, 45, faced deportation to Pakistan but sought sanctuary with Fr Nugent.

He said he had taken them in on humanitarian grounds.

Angelika Kluk
Angelika Kluk was due to return to Poland on Monday

"I can't turn my back on them," he said.

"I have to stand by the right thing to do."

The Consulate General of Pakistan in Glasgow, Shah M Jamal, said the case showed places of worship were often viewed as the last refuge.

A week later, this refuge was back in the news when it was announced Angelika Kluk had disappeared from the church.

Her sister Aneta, 28, said her disappearance was completely out of character.

She spoke of a friendly, trustworthy and reliable person who was responsible beyond her 23 years.

Ms Kluk had bought her return ticket home.

Police were mystified and concerned.

She left without clothing, ID cards or house keys, they said.

They immediately turned their focus to Pat McLaughlin and appealed for him to contact them.

His true identity was then revealed and the fact a warrant was outstanding for his arrest.

'Places of sanctuary'

At 2000 BST on Friday police found a body concealed at St Patrick's church.

Questions will be asked on what the police did in the five days between Ms Kluk's disappearance on Sunday and the discovery of a body on Friday.

The spotlight will also turn to the open door policy operated by churches and how a registered sex offender could gain work as an odd job man.

One local in Anderston, who did not want to be named, said: "They let anyone in, they should try to find out who they are first."

Masih and Christine Raymond
Masih and Christine Raymond inside St Patrick's church
Revered Neil Galbraith, minister at Old Cathcart Parish Church and chief executive of Glasgow the Caring City, said anyone working in a church should be police checked.

He said: "They should be police checked before they have any contact with the church and its people.

"People do see churches as places of sanctuary, I have had a knife held to my throat.

"We work with other agencies and to find accommodation for 24 hours while we check them."

It is complex to determine exactly how a place of worship can continue to provide refuge in good faith alone.

The horrific reality of the situation is conveyed by Ronnie Convery of the Glasgow's Roman Catholic Archdiocese.

He said: "The idea that a body could be found in or around a church almost defies belief."


SEE ALSO
Priest is horrified at body find
30 Sep 06 |  Glasgow and West
Search police find body in church
29 Sep 06 |  Glasgow and West
Hunt for Polish student continues
28 Sep 06 |  Glasgow and West



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