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* ■ Allusion was made a short time ago to the exploits of a party of Spanish banditti, who, aided by the village alcade, pillaged a number of dwelling-houses. A fresh instance of the audacity and impunity with which these ruffians carry on their lawless calling, and strike terror into the minds of the rural population, is now given. Recently, while the inhabitants of the villages of Rhodes, in Lerida, were assembled in the parish church, their devotions were abruptly interrupted by the entrance of a band of robbers, their faces blackened to prevent recognition, and carrying poignards, revolvers, or other arras. Three of these intruders went resolutely towards the pulpit, and, without wasting any time in words, dealt the officiating minister a heavy blow on the head, which stretched him senseless. In this state he was bound with cords and carried out of the church, the brigands threatening anyone present who attempted to leave the building or give the alarm with instant death. The unfortunate priest was conveyed to his residence, placed in an arm-chair, and brought back from his swoon. One of the four ruffians present ordered him to indicate the place where 500 ounces of gpld they knew to he on the ‘premises were kept. The priesi replied that he was ignorant of what thej were alluding to, which answer wai punished with fifteen poignard stabs or the arms and legs. The question was then repeated, and received the saim reply, upon which a further infliction o: cuts with a knife and heavy blows with i stick was resorted to. The victim pf this barbarity, upon being" replaced in hi; chain, admitted now that he possessed ; little money, about 3,000 reals. This de •duration exasperated the bandits, wh next tortured their captive by lighting a quantity of straw over the flames c which they held the priest's face until hi hair eyebrows, and eyelashes were ablaze The’ heartrending cries uttered by th sufferer brought at length the female sei want to the scene, but before she coul offer any resistance or seek help she wa stabbed. It was finally decided tin since the robbers had been deceived i their expectation of finding a rich bool 3 the priest should be shot, and he ha been told to kneel down prepan into execution of tl one of the band, who ha bepn ransacking the house, returned wit the news that he had discovered the fii hundred ounces of gold. This was treasure deposited in the keeping of tl priest the previous day, and which h conscience forbade him to give up. Ha ing obtained what they wanted tl brigands made off, such being the tern they inspired that no one dared to pursi them.

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 107, 1 June 1880

Word Count

SHOCKING BARBARITY TO A PRIEST. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 107, 1 June 1880