By Piers Meyler
Tuesday 18th June 2013
A bishop ordered by a court last week to vacate his vicarage in Brentwood has said he would rather live on the streets than go to the new home provided for him.
Dr Michael Reid, 70, the former head of Trinity Church in Coxtie Green Road, has hit out at a High Court decision to evict him, insisting that Testimony House, in Coxtie Green Road, was bought outright for him and his late wife Ruth through collections worth £275,000 in 1992.
He does not want to move to Crays Hill, near Billericay, where a house, paid for by Trinity, waits for him, likening the move to being placed in exile.
The former Metropolitan Police officer, who became a bishop was consecrated in Nigeria in 1996, said: “It was the worst thing I ever did, but I put the house in the name of the church charity as I never suspected I would be fighting for the right to remain there.
“I said ‘I’ll put it in the church’s name because I don’t want it after I die.”
The court heard he refused to leave his vicarage after he was sacked for an extra-marital affair with a member of his congregation
Dr Reid’s former colleagues have been trying to evict him from Testimony House since 2009.
He had been dismissed a year earlier after news of an affair with his PA and choir director Sheila Graziano hit the headlines and he lost an employment tribunal claim.
“I have never tried to enrich myself out of anything, never sought to enrich myself or my family,” Bishop Reid said.
“I can’t afford to go to appeal – they’ve got all my money. It’s cost me a fortune in legal fees.”
He added: “I haven’t got a plan but I will never go to Crays Hill.
“They will get the bailiffs. I will sleep on the street – I don’t care.
Read the full interview in this week’s Brentwood Gazette, out tomorrow.
By Piers Meyler