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Suspended priest is defiant

A PRIEST suspended for alleging a culture of homosexual bullying within the Catholic Church in Scotland is determined to remain in a parish house despite a notice to quit.

Father Matthew Despard, who has been suspended since last November, is refusing to leave the presbytery house of St John Ogilvie in High Blantyre, Lanarkshire, despite having until Thursday to move out.

His solicitor Hugh Neilson has confirmed the priest has been issued with a notice to quit. Some parishioners have said they are willing to blockade the house on Thursday, believing that is when he might be removed.

But a source close to the priest said he was determined to stay put beyond the Thursday deadline and further legal proceedings would be needed to get him out of the house.

The church took legal action against him to repossess it in the name of stand-in Father William Nolan, who claimed the action was not to evict Father Despard but to gain access.

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