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Australian Media on Paganism

TV obsession led to church attacks

by Court Reporter SAM WEIR , 30th August, 2000 The Advertiser (SA)

THE bizarre motives behind a spree of Satanic vandalism attacks on Christian churches last year has been revealed in the District Court.

But the men who committed the acts of desecration yesterday avoided immediate custodial sentences.

Jamie Luke Broderick, 29, and a 32-year-old man, whose name is suppressed, raided eight churches in the Adelaide Hills and country areas in March last year.

In his sentencing remarks yesterday, Judge John Sulan said: "It's clear the nature of these offences are such the two of you were very influenced by satanic thoughts at the time."

The court heard the man, whose name is suppressed, had become obsessed with a fictional character called "Mab" after watching a television series.

Mab was the name of the Queen of Darkness in the mini-series Merlin, which screened before the attacks. The television series was described as a "titanic struggle between Christianity and paganism".

The man told Broderick, who he had met a few months earlier and had considerable influence over, that Mab would reward him for doing her bidding.

The court heard that the man, who also came to think St Patrick was evil, believed the property taken from the churches was gifts from Mab and did not regard it as stealing.

He believed he was hearing voices telling him what to do and where to go.

"It was those voices which led you to these offences and you believed Broderick may have been hearing the same voices," Judge Sulan said.

The attacks on the churches at Upper Sturt, Stirling, Cherry Gardens, Ironbank, Aldgate, and Milendella, near Mannum included burning an altar and crucifix, driving screws into the Bible, and defacing a picture of the Pope by daubing on a Blu-tac nose.

Up to $100 was stolen from a collection plate at one church and a $5000 railway clock from another. In June, Broderick, of Mile End, pleaded guilty to three counts of damaging property and five counts of sacrilege. These offences carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

A month earlier, Judge Sulan had found the other man not guilty of the offences due to the man's mental state at the time.

Yesterday, Judge Sulan sentenced Broderick, who wept in the dock, to three years' jail with one year and nine months non-parole.

But this was suspended after he entered into a three-year, $100 good behavior bond.

Broderick, who has been visiting a psychiatrist for a number of years, had played a lesser role in the offending and was a passive and good-natured person, Judge Sulan said.

In relation to the second man, Judge Sulan fixed a limiting term of 4 1/2 years for his supervision.

He was released on licence subject to conditions including he be under the care of a psychiatrist and take all medication prescribed to him.

While the man had played a leading role in the crimes he was in a highly disturbed mental state at the time, Judge Sulan said.

The Advertiser, 30/8/2000

Page Updated 2nd April, 2000
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