A PRIEST has told of how police would not let him past the police cordon to offer last rites to Sir David Amess.

Father Jeffrey Woolnough, a Roman Catholic priest, tried to offer the last rites to the Southend West MP and father-of-five but said he was not allowed to enter the crime scene.

He rushed to Belfairs Methodist Church as soon as he heard the local MP, a devout Catholic, had been stabbed but police would not let him past the cordon.

“A Catholic when they’re dying would want a priest there, and for reasons that only the police know, I was not allowed in,” the local parish priest told the PA news agency.

He found out about the attack on the news on Friday, which was his rest day, adding: “I got my clerics on, and got the holy oils, sort of expecting that I might be allowed on the crime scene to administer the oil of the sick.

“I didn’t know at that time what kind of condition he was in… but it didn’t sound great, so it was a just-in-case matter.

“When I got there, I showed card to the police and I asked ‘if there was any chance that I can get in?’ And in fairness the policeman there radioed through and said: ‘I’m afraid not, this is a crime scene’.”

Instead, Woolnough prayed the rosary outside the police cordon with a fellow parishioner.

An Essex Police spokesperson said: "Working with the police we have to respect what they said. It would’ve been a great thing to do if I’d have had the chance, but it wasn’t to be,” the priest said.

"As with any police incident, it is of the utmost importance that we preserve the integrity of a crime scene and allow emergency services to tend to those in need.

"A cordon is put in place to secure and prevent contamination of the area. Access into a scene is at the discretion of the investigating officers.

"This is a fundamental part of any investigation to ensure the best possible chance of securing justice for any victim and their family.

"A cordon can also be used to restrict an area for emergency services to administer potentially life-saving medical treatment in as much privacy as possible and to allow officers to confirm that an area is safe to enter."