Five years for man who destroyed historic Catholic church in Glasgow

Five years for man who destroyed historic Catholic church in Glasgow

A MAN who destroyed a historic Catholic church in Glasgow after he set fire to it has been jailed for five years and three months.

St Simon's Roman Catholic Church on Partick Bridge Street was completely gutted in the attack in July 2021.

Ryan Haggerty, 25, was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday having earlier pleaded guilty to wilful fire-raising and danger to life.

He was also handed a further four years on licence.

Police described Haggerty's crime as 'a wicked act'.

Irish links

Emergency services were called to St Simon's in the Partick area at around 2.50am on Wednesday, July 28, 2021.

More than 30 firefighters tackled the blaze while nearby residents were evacuated from their homes as a precaution.

The church was founded as St Peter's in 1858 by Irish priest Fr Daniel Gallagher to serve the growing number of Irish in the area.

Since 1945, it has served Glasgow's Polish community and became colloquially known as the Polish Church.

The third-oldest Catholic church in the Archdiocese of Glasgow, it underwent a major restoration between 2005 and 2008 to mark its 150th anniversary.

'Complete disregard'

"This devastating crime caused distress to the whole community and I hope that the sentencing today can bring them justice as they continue to rebuild on what was lost in the fire," said Detective Inspector Kenny McDonald.

"This was a wicked act by a man with complete disregard for those who could have been hurt by his actions.

"It's thanks to the work of officers, our partners at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the help of the community, we were able to bring him to justice.

"I would like to thank everyone who helped with our enquiries."