A Fylde coast vicar today told of his shock after a stranger attacked him in a shop – after asking him ‘when Jesus would return.’
Rev Richard Bunday, the vicar of St Michael’s Parish Church in Kirkham, was attacked when he tried to tell the man, John Dally, that it was a “complicated answer”.
Dally, who had been stood in front of Rev Bunday in a queue in Co-op in Kirkham, then grabbed the shocked vicar by the throat and accused him of being the devil.
He remained at the scene as alarmed staff called the police, shouting abuse at the clergyman, who had been buying chocolate for his wife Nicola.
Father-of-two Rev Bunday, today said his only thought was that he “didn’t want to die” as he tried to fight Dally off.
He added: “I was suited and booted, having just finished doing a wedding rehearsal.
“It was around 8pm, and I had gone to buy some chocolate for my wife.
“The man was standing in front of me and turned around. I don’t know him, he’s not in the congregation.
“He asked me if Jesus was coming back. I tried to explain that was a complicated answer.
“He took umbrage to that and forced me down, and then grabbed hold of my neck and tried to throttle me.
“I managed to get away from him but all that went through my head is that I didn’t want to die.
Rev Bunday, who was ordained in 2000 and came to Kirkham in 2010, added: “It was unpleasant, he was shouting about the devil and saying I was evil.
“The staff (in the shop)were wonderful.”
Dally was arrested a short time after the incident on May 8.
The 51-year-old, of Wyre Avenue, Kirkham, admitted a charge of assault at Preston Magistrates Court and was ordered to pay Rev Bunday £50 – a sum he says he is donating to Kirkham in Bloom.
The vicar added: “I think on reflection the sentence was quite fair.
“My wife was concerned about me being hurt, my neck was quite sore.
“But other than that I was fine.
“I have no feelings of animosity towards him at all, I’m sure he had his reasons – or maybe doesn’t understand himself why he did it.”
Dally was given a six month conditional discharge and must pay a £15 surcharge and £85 costs.