Divine Word priest's throat cut

An intruder repeatedly stabbed Divine Word Fr Ho Tran and cut his throat after the priest disturbed him early Thursday at the order's centre in north-western Sydney.

Fr Tran, 55 stabbed when he disturbed an intruder near the mission's communal dining area about 4.30am, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

A chef who provided first aid has been hailed by police as a hero.

The rector of the mission, Father Ho had left his small unit after hearing a noise. He came upon the intruder in an entrance between his flat and the dining room. The intruder - who remains at large - then stabbed Father Ho, cutting his throat and slashing an artery in his arm before fleeing.

Father Ho stumbled outside, along a concrete walkway to the end of his building, and woke the 68-year-old mission chef, Ray Thrift, who attended to the priest's wounds before calling police.

"He's rendered first aid at the scene which was critical to [Father Ho's] survival. His actions at the scene may have saved the father's life," Inspector Jim Szabo from Eastwood police said.

There were no clues to the intruder's motive, he added.

Late yesterday Fr Ho thanked Mr Thrift for coming to his aid from his bed at Royal North Shore Hospital, where he was in a stable condition recovering from surgery.

The remnants of the efforts by Mr Thrift and ambulance officers were apparent yesterday morning, with a bloodied white blanket and a thong left lying on the wheelchair ramp where Father Ho had fallen.

Blood coated two hand rails running up the ramp and the lower part of an exterior door. Forensic officers were examining the area.

A window to the left of the ramp, which led into the kitchen, was open and marked with another forensic sign. The window's flyscreen lay discarded on the ground nearby.

Fr Ho had worked as the rector at Marsfield for about a year, before which he had trained at the church's seminary in Melbourne, said a fellow priest, Tim Norton.

"He's a very gentle man - the last person you would expect to be involved in this sort of confrontation," Father Norton said. "We'll be praying for Ho and the person who injured him."

Quick thinking saves stabbed priest (Sydney Morning Herald, 10/8/07)
Priest stabbed in head (Sydney Morning Herald, 9/8/07)

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Divine Word Missionaries

10 Aug 2007