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Police hunt thugs in 'faith hate' attack on clergyman

PUBLISHED: 21:45 14 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:07 05 October 2010

St George's, scene of the 'faith hate' assault on the canon

St George's, scene of the 'faith hate' assault on the canon

POLI CE are hunting thugs who attacked a leading East End clergyman in the grounds of his parish church. Two Asian youths are said to have attacked Canon Michael Ainsworth at St George-in-the-East Church in Shadwell, Scotland Yard confirmed tonight (Friday)

By Mike Brooke and Ted Jeory

PARISHIONERS were in shock this week after thugs attacked a leading East End clergyman in the grounds of his church.

Two youths described by police as Asian attacked Canon Michael Ainsworth at St George-in-the-East Church in Shadwell, Scotland Yard confirmed this evening (Friday).

Police are treating the attack on the 57-year-old clergyman as an alleged 'faith hate' crime.

It brought reaction of horror from his parishioners.

One pensioner who contacted the Advertiser said: "This was a terrible attack on Canon Ainsworth in our churchyard. He was set upon for a gang of thugs.

"There was blood everywhere. All the church members are in shock by what happened.

"Our canon is such a nice man who has done so much for the parish. It's been very upsetting."

There were three youths involved, say police, two of whom were said to have attacked Mr Ainsworth.

A parishioner raised the alarm. But the thugs had fled by the time police officers arrived at the church in Canon Street-road, just off The Highway.

Canon Ainsworth was taken to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, where he was treated for cuts and severe bruising, including two black eyes.

Scotland Yard said: "The group is thought to have been made up of three youths, two of whom attacked Canon Ainsworth. They also allegedly made remarks insulting his occupation."

No arrests have been made, but police say they are looking for three Asian suspects. No further descriptions are available at present.

They are appealing for witnesses to the midweek attack on March 5 at around 7pm, or anyone with information, to contact Tower Hamlets 'community safety' unit at Limehouse police station on 020-7275 4752, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555111.

mike.brooke@archant.co.uk

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