York & North Yorkshire

Man jailed over York Minster service assaults

Man is restrained at York Minster Image copyright PA
Image caption Scott Apps has been jailed for two assaults at York Minster

A man who punched the Archbishop of York's chauffeur and assaulted a church steward during a service at the city's Minster has been jailed for 15 months.

Scott Apps, 42, was found guilty of common assault and actual bodily harm in December at Leeds Crown Court.

Apps punched steward Sean Atkinson in the face during the general synod meeting at York Minster in July.

The defendant then struck driver David Smith when he tried to intervene, breaking his nose.

At a sentencing hearing on Thursday, the court was told Apps walked up the central aisle of the Minster and struck Mr Atkinson, who was trying to stop him obstructing the procession.

Recorder Andrew Dallas said there was then an "almighty struggle" in which Mr Smith and members of the congregation tried to restrain Apps, who punched the chauffeur in the face.

Victim 'devastated'

In mitigation, Michael Collins said his client was an "unconventional man" who believed church officials had "formed a grudge against him".

He added: "That can't excuse his conduct, which was violent and, at least for one of these victims, has had far reaching consequences."

The court heard how Mr Smith had been forced to give up work and suffered ongoing neurological problems.

Recorder Dallas said: "You have, in short, devastated his life."

Apps, of no fixed abode, was on bail for two other violent offences when he carried out the attacks.

Jailing him, Mr Dallas said: "You saw [Mr Smith] give evidence. I never saw in your face, manner or speech the slightest remorse for what you did."

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