Police seek man over Melbourne priest bashing

55_story
Police have released a computer-generated image of a man they are seeking over an attack on Melbourne priest Fr Michael Shadbolt who was beaten in his Doveton presbytery last week after he disturbed a burglar.

The Herald-Sun reports that Fr Shadbolt approached the thief while he was taking a digital projector out of the Holy Family Parish Catholic presbytery in Doveton in Melbourne's South East.

Fr Shadbolt, who had been returning from morning prayers, suffered facial bruises, cuts and a possible fractured cheekbone as he courageously fended off a volley of punches during the frenzied attack.

"I took a step into the kitchen when this fellow lunged at me from behind the fridge, slammed me up against the door into the wall and then started to sort of punch me," Fr Shadbolt told the Sun-Herald last week.

"He kept yelling out 'back off, back off'. My reaction was to sort of struggle with him because I thought he's going to kill me so I was putting up a bit of a fight."

The burglar fled when the church secretary arrived, taking with him about $150 in cash donations.

But the thief dropped the digital projector as he fled the scene.

Fr Shadbolt managed to stem the bleeding from his face in time for morning Mass, which he led, albeit half an hour late.

"I didn't feel very much pain at that point, I think the adrenaline was still going," he said later.

"I'm very fortunate that the fellow didn't have a knife or something.

"I honestly think that he didn't come with the intention of beating me up and that I got hurt in the struggle which ensued while he was trying to get out."

Fr Shadbolt feels no great anger, only pity, for his attacker.

"I pray for his soul, that he has a conversion of heart and gives up these sinful ways of bashing up old people," he told the Herald-Sun.


SOURCE
Man sought for bashing priest (Herald-Sun, 10/1/07)
Priest recovering after bashing (Herald-Sun, 4/1/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Holy Family Parish, Doveton

10 Jan 2007