By Jaya Narain
A Christian street preacher was wrongly arrested and held in a police cell for almost 19 hours after quoting verses from the Bible.
John Craven, 57, recited from Revelation after two gay teenagers asked about his views on homosexuality.
But after he read from chapter 21, verse eight – which says sinners will burn in a lake of fire and sulfur – police arrested him on suspicion of committing a public order offense.
He was taken to a police cell where he claims he was denied food, water and access to medication for his rheumatoid arthritis.
He was fingerprinted, had to give a sample of his DNA and told he was being investigated for allegedly using insulting words with the intention of causing harassment, alarm or distress – which could have led to a six-month jail sentence.
Two days later, however, police told him there would be no charges and no further action.
Yesterday he was awarded £13,000 in compensation after a three-year legal battle against Greater Manchester Police which is estimated to have cost the public purse £50,000.
The incident happened in 2011 when Mr Craven, who has been street preaching for 14 years, was at his regular twice-weekly pitch in Manchester city centre.
Mr Craven, who is married, said: ‘Two young lads asked me what God thinks of homosexuals. I told them whilst God hates sin, he loves the sinner and that according to the word of God homosexuality is an abomination. That is not my opinion, it is the word of God.
‘I quoted them Revelation chapter 21, verse eight, “But for the cowardly, unbelieving, sinners, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death”.
The boys then told a policeman his comments had caused them distress. The constable was alleged to have grabbed Mr Craven roughly by the arm before arresting him.
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: ‘We acknowledge that we did make mistakes and, in particular, kept the claimant in custody for too long.’
Read more: Daily Mail
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.