An enigmatic figure claiming to be a Church of England Minister is the subject of an extensive rural search after allegedly pressuring a young couple to undergo a marriage ceremony of questionable legality. Church authorities say they have no record of a Parson Brown in the snowbound area of Kent where the crime of Conspiracy under the Marriages Act 1893 is alleged to have taken place.
Jeremy Jameson of Ashford Kent and his girlfriend Suzanne Hunter of Chalfont St Leonards were enjoying a walk in the snowy countryside, when they encountered the self-styled cleric. “He said ‘are you married’ , and I remember Jeremy saying “no, man” (he’s a bit of a hippy) and then the guy, who was all in white, started saying that he could do the job when he’s in town, and asking us for a deposit of £100.” Illegal marriage ceremonies are now commonplace, hence the seriousness of the case.
Now though the man has disappeared, and Kent Police confess they didn’t have enough resources to pursue him directly after the offence, due to emergency calls during the snowy weather. “ With the thaw almost complete, the pretend parson seems to have disappeared,” a police source said. “The couple have led us to the scene, where we have recovered forensic evidence in the shape of two pieces of coal and a carrot, but we have no idea of the significance of these items. ONe theory is they are connected with some kind of fertility ritual.”