Was he on a crusade? Migrant charged with destroying crypt in 1,000-year-old Dublin church containing mummified remains of Crusaders

The mummies at St Michan’s Church crypt in Dublin, Ireland

A man has been charged in relation to the investigation of a fire which is believed to have “destroyed” the remains of five historical mummified remains at St. Michan’s Church in Dublin.

Christian Topiter, 38, appeared before the Dublin District Court earlier today charged in relation to the fire at the church crypt where remains are housed including the 800 year old remains of a man known as ‘The Crusader’.

For the Irish Mirror Tom Tuite reported that Topiter has “various addresses and had a Romanian travel card” and “was detained at a north Dublin station overnight” although Garda witnesses said they were not 100% certain of his identity.

The court heard that Topiter had been living in a hostel about 200m away from the scene of the incident and that around 4pm a tour guide had become aware of fire and raised the alarm.

Water damage is reported to have caused the remains to become unsalvageable.

Tuite reported details of a bail arrangement in respect of the accused writing that, “the defence submitted that Mr Topiter had an immigration identity card issued by gardai, was presumed innocent, and would obey conditions.”

The solicitor also stressed his client had no history of serious offences.

Judge Binchy noted the garda evidence but said the accused had a presumption in favour of bail, which she set in his bond of €10,000, of which €2,000 must be lodged. He must also have a €10,000 independent surety approved with a €2,000 lodgement,” he wrote.

Speaking to RTÉ News, Archdeacon of Dublin and Vicar of St Michan’s Church, David Pierpoint, said the incident was “disastrous for Dublin, for history and for the parish”.

“The parish depends on income from our tourists and if we’ve no crypts to show people, then we have very little money coming in,” he said.

“We’re not sure now what’s going to happen,” he said, adding that he believed the remains of people involved in the Crusades were damaged beyond any hope of salvation.

St. Michan’s Church was originally founded in 1095 and is the oldest parish church on the north side of Dublin where it stands just behind the four courts.

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