Man urinated at altar of Bognor Regis church in front of ‘frightened’ witnesses, court hears
A man who urinated by the altar of a Bognor Regis church in front of ‘frightened’ members of the public has been found guilty of outraging public decency.
Witnesses at a trial at Worthing Magistrates’ Court today heard how Robert Wolinksi was ‘shouting and waving his arms’ at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Clarence Road prior to the incident on Wednesday, November 20, 2019.
Wolinksi, whose address was listed on the charge sheet as Keynor Lane, Sidlesham, did not attend the trial and was not represented, but was found guilty of the common law offence in his absence.
Laura Jenkin-Rees, prosecuting, said two ladies witnessed the 40-year-old unzip his trousers at the altar during what was ‘a very unpleasant situation’.
One of the women, Diane Reed, was waiting in the church at around 1.45pm because she had arrived early to meet her friend for a game of Scrabble at the parish centre, the court heard.
Giving evidence, she said: “I was sitting, actually reading a prayer book, when someone came in literally screaming and shouting.”
She told the court how she bent down on the pew, ‘hoping he didn’t see me’, and could not understand anything the man was saying as he was ‘so angry’.
Asked how it made her feel, she said: “I was frightened.”
He was ‘still shouting and waving his arms’ when her friend Joan Nash turned up.
Mrs Nash told the court that, from outside the church, she could hear a man shouting in a foreign language and said he sounded ‘very, very cross.’
Inside she found Diane ‘very frightened’, and said of the man: “He walked up to the alter and he stood facing out over the congregation, obviously there was no one there, he banged his hand on the altar, still shouting at the top of his voice.”
Mrs Nash said he ‘appeared very drunk’ and said this was apparent from ‘his attitude and the way he was behaving’.
She said: “He unzipped his trousers and Diane said oh dear I think he’s going to expose himself.”
According to Mrs Nash, another parishioner who was at the far side of the church said the man was urinating by the side of the altar on the carpet.
When asked how it made her feel, Mrs Nash said: “I found it very unpleasant...it’s not the sort of place you would do that sort of thing.”
The court heard that the police were called and Wolinski was arrested.
Mrs Nash said Father Chris arrived and went to get a bucket of water and mop to clear up the urine.
Magistrate David Worcester said that while no one who appeared in court specifically witnessed Wolinski urinating by the altar, he said the evidence he had done so was circumstantial and ‘sufficient for this conclusion to be drawn’.
The court issued a warrant for Wolinski without bail.