Three boys aged 11, 13 and 15 charged with attacking Co Derry Catholic Church

Two boys, aged 11 and 15, will appear in court today charged with a suspected sectarian attack on a Catholic church in Co Derry.

The miners were arrested over the weekend, along with another 13-year-old boy, following an attack on the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in the King Street area of ​​Magherafelt.

During the incident, which is being treated as a hate crime, damage was done to a number of objects in the church and a priest was insulted.

In addition to smashing vases of flowers, intruders also smashed an electronic hand sanitizer dispenser against seats.

They also threw out candles and threw out copies of Mass missals.

An attempt was also made to damage the altar microphones.

At the nearby parish center, attempts were also made to break a defibrillator.

During the incident, which took place at around 4pm on Saturday, the parish priest, Fr John Gates, was verbally attacked with sectarian sentiments.

The police were called and three boys were arrested.

As police investigated the crime and carried out a forensic examination of the church, Saturday evening mass had to be moved to the parish centre.

A police spokeswoman said officers were investigating a report of criminal damage to the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption

“Around 4 p.m. it was reported that three men entered the building and verbally assaulted the priest and caused damage to a number of items,” she said.

“This is being treated as a hate crime and police attended the scene and subsequently arrested three men aged 11, 13 and 15, suspected of a number of offenses including damages “.

The 11- and 15-year-olds are due to appear in Coleraine Magistrates’ Court today, while the 13-year-old is due to appear in Magherafelt Magistrates’ Court on May 18.

SDLP assembly candidate Patsy McGlone called the attack on the church “despicable”.

“There has been an accumulation of antisocial behavior lately,” he said.

“There were also some around the church…that culminated in an event on Saturday.

And he added: “It was not only vandalism, but also bigotry… Magherafelt is a calm and calm town and everyone gets along well.”

Mr McGlone said the incident had left some older parishioners “a little worried”.

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