Parish priest attack: Police reopen investigation after complaint they ‘did nothing’

Father Colin Mason suffered a fractured eye socket in the attack on church grounds

Father Colin Mason after the attack in Westbury-on-TyrmFather Colin Mason after the attack in Westbury-on-Tyrm
Father Colin Mason after the attack in Westbury-on-Tyrm

A police investigation into a violent attack on a parish priest in Bristol has been reopened after he complained they ‘did nothing’.

Father Colin Mason, aged 60, of Sacred Heart Church in Westbury-on-Trym, was left with a fractured eye socket following the brutal assault by four men on church grounds in August.

It happened when he asked for a party at the church hall to end after hearing loud music.

Despite reporting the attack to Avon and Somerset Police, he heard nothing for three weeks and the force filed the case.

But now, after Father Mason lodged a complaint, the force is appealing for information as it looks into the case again.

Father Colin Mason’s Sacred Heart Church in Westbury-on-TrymFather Colin Mason’s Sacred Heart Church in Westbury-on-Trym
Father Colin Mason’s Sacred Heart Church in Westbury-on-Trym

The priest said: “It’s quite incredible to say but the police actually did nothing.

“After the incident, the initial response was great, they came dead quick - really quickly, and they were very helpful to me as they came and found me sitting covered in blood in a complete mess.

“Then I discovered in the next few days they were not doing anything in particular.

‘’They hadn’t followed up with my hall booking manager, who had the details of the people who booked the hall for the party.

“After three weeks I realised, they really hadn’t done anything at all.

‘’So I emailed them and they immediately got back to me with a crime reference number.

“Three days later, I got an email to say they had closed the case - and I thought ‘hang on, you can’t close the case when you haven’t done anything.’’

It led to Father Mason writing an official letter of complaint, which was later acknowledged by police who said it was reviewing its service.

And speaking today (October 26) he said police informed him they had reopened his case.

He said: “I’m just glad something is being done now.

“The police rang me to inform me that they have re-opened the case, which of course is exactly what I wanted.

“In that sense, I’m quite happy there’s been some positive news. Up until today I was obviously not happy, because it erodes your confidence in the police”.

Speaking yesterday (October 25) an Avon and Somerset Police spokesperson said the complaint had been passed to the area patrol inspector and the force could make no further comment until the review had concluded.

Today, a spokesperson said: “In terms of the investigation we’d ask anyone with information about what happened to call 101 ref 5221192357.”

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