Edinburgh crime: Jason Irvine who attacked priest in Edinburgh cathedral dies in prison

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He repeatedly struck the victim with a glass bottle.

A violent thug who was jailed for attacking a priest with a glass bottle inside an Edinburgh cathedral has died in prison.

Jason Irvine repeatedly struck victim Father Jamie McMorrin to the body with the makeshift weapon while the priest was kneeling for morning prayers at St Mary’s Cathedral in July 2021.

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Irvine then chased the terrified cleric through the cathedral and placed him in a headlock before Father McMorrin was able to grab a wooden chair and bravely fight off his drunk assailant.

The incident happened inside St Mary’s Cathedral in July 2021The incident happened inside St Mary’s Cathedral in July 2021
The incident happened inside St Mary’s Cathedral in July 2021

Irvine, from Cumbria, dropped the bottle and fled the church before he then headed to the capital’s East Princes Street Gardens where he assaulted a 16-year-old girl around 20 minutes later.

Irvine pleaded guilty to assaulting Father McMorrin aggravated by religious prejudice and assaulting the teenage girl on July 26, 2021 when he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in February 2022.

Sheriff Thomas Welsh QC described the attacks on the priest and the teenager as “disgraceful” and jailed him for 27 months. Irvine was later released from the prison term but was remanded in custody on an unrelated matter at the capital court earlier this year.

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Irvine was subsequently found dead aged 34 at HMP Edinburgh last week.

A Scottish Prison Service spokesperson said: “Jason Irvine, 34, a prisoner at HMP Edinburgh has died on 21 February 2024. He was remanded at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in 2024. Police Scotland have been advised and the matter reported to the Procurator Fiscal.  A Fatal Accident Inquiry will be held in due course.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "On Wednesday, 21 February, 2024, officers were advised about the death of an 34-year-old male prisoner from HMP Edinburgh within the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. There are no suspicious circumstances, and a report has been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”

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