PreviousNext

Christian street preacher who allegedly told gay couple they would 'burn in hell' in High Street rant is cleared of wrongdoing

By // News | Christian street preacher who allegedly told gay couple they would 'burn in hell' in High Street rant is cleared of wrongdoing
Email to a friend Plain text Print version // Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
  • Michael Overd's lawyers said he was quoting from the bible's 1 Corinthians

By Emily Allen

Last updated at 6:25 PM on 10th February 2012

Michael Overd was accused of using threatening or abusive language as he preached last July

Michael Overd was accused of using threatening or abusive language as he preached last July

A Christian street preacher was yesterday cleared of harassing a gay couple - after telling them homosexuals would 'burn in hell'.

Religious Michael Overd, 47, was accused of using threatening or abusive language against Craig Manning and Craig Nichol as he preached last July.

A court heard that he approached the pair in busy Taunton High Street, Somerset, calling them ‘sinners’ and proclaiming they would ‘burn in hell’.

But Overd claimed he was merely exercising his right to expression by reading from the bible and was acquitted of the charge by Taunton Deane Magistrates yesterday.

Dean Lampard, from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), speaking after the verdict, said: 'We take allegations of this nature very seriously and when we reviewed the case we determined it was appropriate to charge Mr Overd with harassment.

'We examined the evidence and were satisfied that there was a realistic prospect of conviction and that it was in the public interest to bring criminal proceedings.

'We respect the magistrates’ decision today.

'Everyone has the right to live their life free from harassment and distress and we will continue to work closely with Avon and Somerset Constabulary to investigate any allegations of hate crime of any sort, be it homophobic, racist, religious or disability hate crime.'

Taunton town centre where the two men claim they were intimidated by preacher Michael Overd

Taunton town centre where the two men claim they were intimidated by preacher Michael Overd in July last year

Overd, of Creech St Michael in Somerset, was charged last September in relation to alleged homophobic hate crime against a gay couple in Taunton.

Religious Michael Overd was accused of using threatening or abusive language against Craig Manning and Craig Nichol as he preached last July

Overd's lawyers claimed his client was merely reciting a passage from 1 Corinthians

The court heard claims the lay preacher was provoked by a previous altercation with Mr Nichol and Mr Manning in October 2010, when he saw them holding hands.

Mr Nichol, giving evidence at the two-day trial, said as soon as Overd saw them from around 10 metres away on July 16 last year 'the expression on his face changed'.

He said: 'He said ‘I have already told these two sinners over here that they are going to burn in hell’.

'He looked at us and pointed at us when he said it. His voice was quite loud and very clear. I felt angry, embarrassed and ashamed.

'I asked him who he was to judge me and he said ‘it’s God’s words, it is in the bible’.

'He said I should repent and ask God for forgiveness.'

Paul Diamond, representing Overd, claimed his client was merely reciting a passage from 1 Corinthians.

The passage reads: 'Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.'

Tagged : No tags for this article

Headlines Newsview all

Cheating map of UK reveals Maidenhead to be Britain's most adulterous town

One of the richest towns in Britain also has the highest number of people having extramarital affairs, according to new research. Wealthy Maidenhead tops a new ... Full story

Trainee teacher hangs himself after split from the girlfriend he couldn’t live without

A trainee teacher hanged himself on New Year’s Eve after a split from his girlfriend, an inquest heard today. Keiran Walsh, 22, split from his partner ... Full story

White Dee, Benefits Street's most infamous and shameless resident

Late on a dark and rainy night, it is all go-go-go down at White Dee’s house in Birmingham. There is a pan of fish stew ... Full story

DJ Chris Moyles claimed to be a second-hand CAR DEALER to save £1 million in celebrity tax avoidance scheme

DJ Chris Moyles claimed to be a second-hand car dealer while presenting Radio 1’s Breakfast Show in a bid to save up to £1million in ... Full story

Kym Marsh fling with personal trainer, Matt Baker

Her marriage to Jamie Lomas ended in October and now Kym Marsh has sparked romance rumours after spending Valentine's weekend in Paris with her personal ... Full story

Nicole Scherzinger shows off a bit too much

NICOLE Scherzinger and fellow leading ladies at this year's Brits spent hours getting ready for the big night.But once the after-parties kicked in, their extensive ... Full story

Mother arrested after11-month-old daughter mauled to death by dog

A mother has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after her “beautiful and adorable” 11-month-old daughter was mauled to death by a dog.Ava Jayne Marie ... Full story

London Tube strike cancelled after last minute talks

A planned 48-hour strike by London Underground workers in a row over ticket office closures has been called off after a last-minute deal was agreed.Members ... Full story

First woman bishop in the Church of England could be appointed ‘by Christmas’

The first woman bishop in the Church of England could be appointed before the end of this year, the Church’s most senior official has disclosed.William ... Full story

Bank of England must move away from its rigid unemployment target or risk losing credibility

The Bank of England must "get back to basics" and move away from its rigid unemployment target or risk losing credibility, former Bank policymakers have ... Full story

Hollywood child star Shirley Temple dies at age 85

Shirley Temple, the American actress, singer and dancer, has died at her home in California from natural causes.Temple, who began her film career in 1932 ... Full story

Comment on: Christian street preacher who allegedly told gay couple they would 'burn in hell' in High Street rant is cleared of wrongdoing

Rate this article

0

Breaking News

Fund manager Neil Woodford sells HSBC stake over fears of 'fine inflation'

Fund manager Neil Woodford today sold his stake in HSBC, citing concerns about "fine inflation" in the banking industry. Woodford, who quit Invesco Perpetual to ...

Ecuadoran volcano called 'Throat of Fire' in local language starts spewing ash 28,000ft into air

An Ecuadorean volcano is spewing ash five miles into the air, closely monitored by experts, after an eruption this weekend. Ash from the Tunguarahua volcano, whose ...

Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'

Al Pacino has opened up about the struggles he and others have faced when battling depression. The veteran actor said that he felt "spared" and "lucky" ...

Yves Carcelle dead: Former Louis Vuitton CEO and chairman dies, aged 66

Yves Carcelle, former chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton, died yesterday (Sunday 31 August), aged 66. The French businessman had been battling with a rare form ...

Pakistan protesters clash with police in Islamabad  

Islamabad was hit by the chaos after anti-government protesters attempted to storm the Prime Minister’s residence and pushed their way into the building of a ...

Homeless man ‘kills two New Zealand welfare workers’ after describing his benefit struggles in local paper

A homeless man in New Zealand who allegedly shot dead two welfare police officers, critically injuring a third, has been detained after a seven-hour manhunt. Only ...

British Wildlife Photography Awards 2014 winners announced

The British Wildlife Photography Awards winners have been revealed, with Lee Acaster from Suffolk taking home the top prize for his shot of a Graylag ...

Anna Kendrick on her own nude photo leak: 'It would be photos of food and other people's dogs anyway'

Anna Kendrick was not among the 100 high-profile names to have had her phone hacked, but she says that we’d all be pretty disappointed with ...

Pakistan protests turn deadly as TV station stormed by demonstrators

Pakistan's capital was plunged into further chaos after anti-government protesters pushed ever closer to the Prime Minister’s residence and stormed the offices of a state-controlled ...

Radamel Falcao to Manchester United: Loan deal agreed with Monaco for Colombian striker

Manchester United today agreed a sensational deadline day loan deal for Radamel Falcao, with the anticipated £9m outlay taking the cost of their desperate attempts ...