DRUNKEN church minister crashed his car before attacking police and paramedics – telling them he was a member of the IRA and would murder them.

Lee Stephens, 31, collided head-on with a family’s Ford C-Max car in Billericay, leaving a father and his children, aged five and six, in hospital.

Stephens, who was three times the legal drink drive limit, then punched a paramedic, spat at a police officer and attacked a female paramedic while she tried to treat him.

The chaos continued at Basildon Hospital where Stephens – originally from Ireland butnow in Essex, working at a Pentecostal church in Billericay – told police he had contacts in the IRA and theywould “blow them up”.

He then made an abusive comment about a police officer.

Basildon magistrates sentenced Stephens, of Ballyloughan Road Richhill, Armagh, Northern Ireland, to 16 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months on Friday.

The court heard the trouble started after Stephens was thrown out the Forge Pub, in The Pantiles, Billericay.

He crashed his car in to a lamp post in Queens Park Avenue , then smashed head-on into the family’s car.

The court was told he was arrested by an off-duty police officer. A breath test then showed he had 108 microgrammes of alcohol in his breath per 100ml.

The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

When ambulance crews arrived to treat Stephens and the injured family he became aggressive and swore, before punching Sgt Mark Ammon twice in the leg.

He then spat at another officer and punched paramedic Gary Harvey in the kidneys.

Stephens told them: “I am a pastor.

Let me go or you will lose your jobs. I will kill everyone. I know the IRA.”

Sam Doyle, prosecuting, told the court the children involved in the crash suffered whiplash injuries.

The incident had left them scared to get into a car and fearful they might die.

Stephens admitted assaulting a police officer, common assault, failing to provide a specimen of blood and using threatening words and behaviour.

He was ordered to pay his victims a total of £250 compensation Stephens told the court he had been on antidepressants as a result of stress at work and did not usually drink.

He added he did not remember anything about the incident and was deeply ashamed.

Chairman of the bench, Balbira Bal, told him: “Emergency service staff try to help the public and should be given respect and consideration.”