Illegal Migrant Seriously Damages Swiss Church Organ Causing Thousands in Damages

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An illegal immigrant said to have severe psychological difficulties, broke into a church in Neuchâtel, causing tens of thousands of Swiss francs in damage to the church’s organ.

The attack took place earlier this week on Tuesday at the Collegiate Church of Neuchâtel when a man broke into the church with the intention of spending the night inside the church building. He was arrested by police a short time later.

A police statement claimed that there had been “significant” damage to the organ of the church, which had been recently renovated at the cost of 550,000 Swiss Francs (£461,025/$569,160) and had only been back in service this year after being silent since 1996, 20 Minutes reports.

Police state they believe that the man did not damage the organ for religious or political reasons but did so as a result of trying to spend the night hidden in the church and also stated that the illegal migrant suffers from mental health problems.

A criminal investigation has been opened by the local Public Prosecutor’s Office for aggravated property damage and the prosecutor in the case s expected to request pre-trial detention for the migrant.

Church attacks have become increasingly common in Switzerland’s neighbour France in recent years and there have been cases similar to the case in Neuchâtel, including an attack by a Pakistani migrant who vandalised the Saint-Denis Basilica, the home of the tombs of many of France’s former Kings.

The 41-year-old Pakistani national is said to have done serious damage to the main organ of the Basilica as well as smashing stained glass windows.

Attacks and attempted attacks on churches in France have become not only more common but sometimes more violent as well in recent years. Earlier this year a man was arrested after planting an explosive device in the Saint-Etienne cathedral at the altar of the cathedral during morning Mass.

Just days later as French voters turned out for the first round of the French presidential election, a priest in Nice was attacked by a man with a knife during Mass and stabbed several times.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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