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Last Updated: Monday, 2 April 2007, 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK
Priest 'admired Angelika spirit'
Angelika Kluk
Angelika first arrived at the chapel house in 2005
The former priest at the Glasgow church which is at the centre of the Angelika Kluk murder trial said he admired the student's vitality and love of life.

Father Gerry Nugent, 63, who gave Angelika free accommodation at St Patrick's Church, was giving evidence at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Peter Tobin, 60, is accused of raping and murdering Ms Kluk and hiding her body under the floor of the church.

The church handyman denies all charges against him. The trial continues.

The priest told the jury that Peter Tobin was "great" and had quickly won his trust.

Father Nugent, ordained in 1967, came to the church in the Anderston area of the city in 1998. He said he resigned from the parish a fortnight ago.

He told the court that during his time there he wanted "an open door policy", making the church available for charities and religious groups to hold meetings.

Father Gerry Nugent
Father Nugent said he resigned from the parish two weeks ago

During his time as parish priest, Father Nugent said, about 20 to 23 people stayed in the chapel house including homeless people and visiting priests from Africa.

Angelika arrived at the chapel house in 2005 and asked the priest if he knew a parishioner who might take her in.

He showed her a room in the house and asked if she wanted to stay.

"She was delighted," he told the court. "You know, skipping round."

He said he charged no rent because he knew she was a student planning to return to Gdansk but she helped around the church.

"I was full of admiration for her because it would seem to me she was up at six o'clock in the morning going to work in an office, having some kind of breakfast then going to work in the city centre until maybe three or four," he said.

"She very much integrated herself in the community because she was a fairly serious student.

"She did love life, she did love Scotland."

'Very devout'

He also described Angelika as a "kind of hands-on person" and "very friendly".

"She would come down to the kitchen and if she thought any jobs wanted doing she would do them," he said.

"She just loved talking to people. Part of that was due to her interest in people and life and she wanted to learn more and more about Scotland."

Asked about religion, Father Nugent said: "She was a very devout person but level-headed about it."

He told advocate depute Dorothy Bain, prosecuting he admired the 23-year-old.

"She had a great vitality and desire to live and was good to talk to," he said.

The priest said Angelika - who he called Angela - also stayed the following year and told him a lot about her past life.

I had no idea whatsoever that hatch opened
Father Gerry Nugent

Earlier, the trial heard that Father Nugent had claimed in a police statement and in a newspaper article that he had sex with Angelika.

Ms Bain asked Father Nugent if, last year, he met a man called Patrick McLaughlin.

"Yes, that's Patrick" the priest said and pointed at Mr Tobin in the dock.

When told by the lawyer that the man who introduced himself as Patrick McLaughlin was Peter Tobin, Father Nugent said: "Yes, I was surprised to see that. I read it in the papers."

He told the court a homeless charity called Loaves and Fishes wanted to paint a room in St Patrick's Church.

"One day I came into church and was told 'This is Pat, he has volunteered to do the painting'," he said.

'No idea'

After that "Patrick" went on to do other work without being asked and he began turning up every day.

He was not paid but was given cigarettes.

"He quite quickly gained your trust if you gave him the key," said Ms Bain.

"Yes, he was great," the priest said.

The priest was also shown photographs of the hatch, just feet from his confessional, which led to where Angelika's body was found on 29 September.

"I had no idea whatsoever that that opened," he said.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Father Gerry Nugent was driven away from the court



SEE ALSO
Murdered student's final message
02 Apr 07 |  Glasgow and West
Angelika lover dismisses claims
30 Mar 07 |  Glasgow and West
Fury at Angelika priest sex claim
29 Mar 07 |  Glasgow and West
Victim's sister 'quizzed accused'
29 Mar 07 |  Glasgow and West
Father in tears at Angelika trial
28 Mar 07 |  Glasgow and West

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