A man put £20 in a donation box then dropped his trousers in Exeter Cathedral, damaged an altar crucifix and then punched a 70-year-old woman in the face, a court has been told. Nicholas Courtney, 34, admitted causing criminal damage when he appeared at Exeter Magistrates' Court.
Courtney, of Exeter, also pleaded guilty to unlawful and
malicious wounding. Prosecutor Karen Ball said Courtney went up to the high altar and climbed on
top of it, sending candlesticks crashing to the ground and damaging a crucifix
as he leapt down to the ground.
Outside the main entrance to the cathedral, at around 1.10pm on Saturday, Courtney punched a 70-year-old
woman. The force of the blow knocked her to the ground, breaking her wrist.
In a police interview Courtney said he felt "something bad was about to
happen" and he "lost it". Katherine Todd, defending, said: "He is absolutely horrified by what he has
done. She said her client was "extremely sorry" and would do anything he could to
turn the clock back. He was remanded in custody to be sentenced on 20 March at Exeter Crown Court.