Psyche tests for 'church vandal'

A homeless man has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment after allegedly smashing three antique statues at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney.

CLICK HEREThe Courier-Mail reports that worshippers told police a man entered the Catholic cathedral's Sacred Heart Chapel and started extinguishing prayer candles about 4.45pm on Monday.

He burnt his hand and allegedly hit a statue of the Virgin Mary, causing it to fall to the ground and break, police said today. Two smaller statues of angels were also destroyed in the incident, which happened shortly after a costly restoration of the the historic ornaments.

"The recently restored statues are believed to have been about 120 years old and worth about $120,000," NSW Police said in statement yesterday.

Police arrested 61-year-old William Reilly, of no fixed abode, at the cathedral and charged him with maliciously destroying or damaging property.

Reilly was ordered to undergo a mental health assessment at St Vincent's Hospital's psychiatric unit after appearing in Central Local Court today, police said.

The Archdiocese said the statue of the Virgin Mary, which dated from 1882, could probably be repaired, but the angels sustained significant damage and it was unlikely they could be saved.

Reilly is expected to reappear in Central Local Court on Monday.

Psyche tests for 'church vandal' (The Courier Mail/AFP 21/9/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney

Homeless man charged over destroyed statue (CathNews 20/9/05)
Arsonist sets fire to Cathedral altar (CathNews 5/5/05)

21 Sep 2005