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UK News

Priest 'exchanging letters with jailed extremist Abu Hamza'

In one note, Rev Stephen Coles (pictured below, second in from the right) was invited by the radical cleric to visit him at the so-called supermax Florence jail (pictured) near Colorado Springs.

The vicar of St Thomas the Apostle Church in north London described fondly a summer holiday he took to Spain in another.

He was quoted by the Sunday Times as saying: "One of the oddest things in my life is that I have this odd relationship with somebody like Hamza.

"But better that I should have an odd relationship with him than nobody should have any relationship with him."

Hamza, who was sentenced to life in prison by a court an American court in 2015 for supporting terrorism, is a former Iman of Finsbury Park mosque - close to Rev Coles' church.

The two men first came into contact when Rev Coles confronted Hamza after he publicly praised the actions of those behind the September 11th terror attacks in 2001

They went on to stay in touch, with Rev Coles visiting Hamza at Belmarsh prison during a legal battle over whether the Egyptian should be extradited to the US to face trial.

The pair lost contact when Hamza was extradited in 2012. That was until Hamza contacted him last year.

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