Hunt for Insulate Britain Church of England vicar, 62, who brought M25 to a standstill as he faces JAIL and police issue arrest warrant after he fails to turn up to court
- Mark Coleman arrested for messages on the windows of Tory MP Chris Clarkson
- He was due to attend Manchester Magistrates Court this week for his a hearing
- But a warrant was issued for Rev Coleman’s arrest after he failed to show today
Police are hunting a Church of England vicar who brought the M25 to a standstill with Insulate Britain after he failed to turn up at court on a criminal damage charge.
Rev Mark Coleman, 62, was arrested after spraying messages on the windows of Tory MP Chris Clarkson before staging a sit in.
He was due to attend Manchester Magistrates Court this week for his first appearance but a warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to show.
The warrant was not backed for bail meaning Coleman, of Falinge, Rochdale, will be locked up when found pending his next appearance in court.
No reason was given for the clergyman’s no-show on Wednesday but his Twitter account showed a picture of him in London on Tuesday burning court injunction papers served on him following his protest group’s blocking of the M25 motorway.
He had no solicitor representing him at the hearing. He was tannoyed to attend but when there was no response JP Joe Bangudu said: ‘In the case of Reverend Michael Coleman, the court will issue a warrant not backed by bail.’
Coleman, who was the former vicar of St Chad’s and St Mary’s churches in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, was reported to police in March after staging his demo.
He modelled it on the protest scene in the 2016 Ken Loach movie I, Daniel Blake about a middle aged carpenter’s battle to get state handouts after injuring himself.
The message scrawled on the windows of the constituency officers of Mr Clarkson in Heywood read: ‘I, Mark Coleman am fed up with empty words and demand action on the climate.’ Another said: ‘Tell the truth, love, do justice’
The clergyman, who was previously arrested at an Extinction Rebellion protest in 2019, sat on the pavement and waited at the scene for two hours for police to arrest him – but went home when officers did not turn up.
Reverend Sue Parfitt (pictured bottom left) was back among the protesters on the M25 yesterday. She was joined by fellow religious leaders reverends Mark Coleman (pictured front second left), 62, Tim Hewes (second row right), 71, and father Martin Newell, 54 (pictured front row right)
He later wrote an open letter to Mr Clarkson in which he made reference to his Christian faith and fears for his newly born grandchild.
He also offered to clean the chalk paint off the windows but it is thought Mr Clarkson’s aides alerted officers and he was charged later with causing £50 of damage to the window panes.
At the time Coleman said: ‘I now have a grandchild and am terrified of what we are passing on to the next generation.
‘I’ve just had enough of the government saying they’re leading the field when a committee of MPs have found they don’t even have a plan on how to do it. It’s reckless and irresponsible.
‘The future of everything and everyone we love is at stake, we can’t afford to not do this, and if it takes doing things like this to get some action, then I’ll keep on doing it, and I think other people should do too.’
Coleman attended the £36,000 a year Merchiston Castle boarding school in Edinburgh before graduating in law at Kent University and getting a master’s degree in Theology.
He was ordained in 2000 and served as a rector in West Derby, Liverpool before moving to Rochdale in 2014 where he was made vicar and Borough Dean.
He announced his retirement in February last year due to Parkinson’s disease, which he was diagnosed with several years ago.
In a statement Mr Clarkson said: ‘Activists from Extinction Rebellion vandalised the exterior of my office. The matter has been reported to the police which the correct way to deal with criminal damage.’