‘This isn’t f****** Disneyland’: Furious drunk man storms cathedral after crazy golf course installed in nave, court hears

Court hears man is ‘extremely ashamed’ over obscene rant at cathedral staff

Conrad Duncan@theconradduncan
Wednesday 04 September 2019 17:46
Rochester Cathedral installed a miniature golf course in its nave to improve visitor numbers this summer
Rochester Cathedral installed a miniature golf course in its nave to improve visitor numbers this summer

An allegedly drunk man who launched into a foul-mouthed rant at cathedral staff over a crazy golf course has pleaded guilty to common assault.

Micheal Feeney berated visiting chaplain Margaret Moore about the “disgraceful” golf course built inside Rochester Cathedral.

The 67-year-old, who occasionally prays at the cathedral, raged at staff and visitors after a free nine-hole golf course was installed in the nave of the 13th-century building.

He shouted: “This isn’t f***ing Disneyland, this is a f***ing cathedral, this is a f***ing disgrace.”

Feeney pleaded guilty to riotous, violent or indecent behaviour in a churchyard and one count of common assault at Medway Magistrates’ Court in Kent on Tuesday.

He said he was “extremely sorry” and “extremely ashamed” about the incident.

Approximately 40 visitors, including children, were enjoying the miniature golf course when Feeney began ranting at about midday on 3 August, one week after the course opened.

Visitors said he was clearly drunk when police arrived and arrested him.

The Kent cathedral is one of many across the country that has been encouraging visitors this summer with unusual projects.

In court, Feeney said: “Can I just say, I never hit anyone.

“I am extremely sorry, I am extremely ashamed about it. I am trying to be a nice person.”

His solicitor, Ghulam Humayum, said Feeney does not describe himself as a churchgoer, but “he just found that there was something wrong.”

He was handed a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £85 costs.

Rochester Cathedral said the golf course, which closed last Sunday, has helped improve general visitor numbers, with an 85 per cent increase in visitors since last year.

“The response to the crazy golf has been amazing,” Reverend Nathan Ward said. “It was designed to engage local people, especially families, and welcome them into their community space.”

He added: “The people who criticised the event probably didn’t attend to experience it themselves.

“When any organisation does something new, some people find it uncomfortable which is sad. But actually, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Agencies contributed to this report