Richhill pastor crashed car and threatened police with the IRA

Lee Stephens from Richhill. Picture by Cascades News
Lee Stephens from Richhill. Picture by Cascades News

A pastor from Richhill has been sacked from his job in England after being involved in a drink-drive rumpus in which he punched and spat at police and paramedics.

Lee Stephens, 31, also claimed he was a member of the IRA and threatened that he would “blow them up”.

The pastor, who escaped jail, was three times over the limit when he crashed his car.

He collided head on with a family’s Ford C-Max vehicle in Billericay, Essex, putting a father and his two young children, aged five and six, in hospital.

Stephens then thumped a paramedic, spat at a police officer, assaulted a female paramedic as she treated him and made various threats.

The chaos continued at Basildon Hospital where Stephens told police he had contacts in the IRA who would “blow them up”.

He said, “I am a pastor – let me go or you will lose your jobs. I will kill everyone. I know the IRA.”

Stephens, pastor at Elim Pentecostal Church at Ingatestone, in Essex, admitted assaulting a police officer, common assault, failing to provide a specimen of blood, and using threatening words and behaviour.

He recorded a reading of 108mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath when arrested at the scene in April. The legal drink-drive limit is 35mg.

Stephens told Basildon magistrates he was “deeply ashamed” of his actions and could not remember what had happened after drinking at The Forge pub, Billericay.

He was sentenced to a 16-week prison term, suspended for 12 months, banned from driving for 30 months and ordered to pay £250 compensation to his victims.

Balbira Bal, chairman of the bench, told Stephens, “Emergency service staff try to help the public and should be given respect and consideration.”

The Elim Pentecostal Church confirmed this week that Stephens had been sacked.

A spokesman said, “Naturally the Church cannot accept such behaviour and Lee Stephens is no longer a minister with Elim.

“We understand that this was out of character and he is totally contrite and apologises for his behaviour. Our sympathies go to the family involved in the accident and to the officer and paramedic concerned.”

Stephens lists his interests online as evangelism, church planting, leadership, reading and revivals.

His favourite books include Seven Pentecostal Pioneers and the The Contemplative Pastor.

It is understood that Stephens has returned to Northern Ireland.