Priest 'Abandoned' Pregnant Cousin

Scotsman [Scotland]
February 9, 2006

A woman who claims to be pregnant by her Catholic priest cousin has said he abandoned her after she told him she was expecting his child.

Married mother-of-one Hilda Robertson, 41, said she had a two-year affair with Father Roddy MacNeil, a priest in Castlebay on the Hebridean isle of Barra where they both grew up.

Fr MacNeil, who was a close friend of the mother of Diana, Princess of Wales, was suspended from his post in the parish in December.

Parishioners were told at the time by the Bishop of Argyll that the 45-year-old priest had been asked to take time out to "reflect on the future of his priestly vocation".

Ms Robertson, who will give birth in the summer, told the Daily Record newspaper that she first slept with her cousin in Barra when she returned to the island in February 2004, days before her brother died.

She left her husband of 20 years last March and moved back to the island from the family home in Larkhall, Lanarkshire.

Their plan was for her and Fr MacNeil to transfer eventually to a parish on the mainland, where she would work as his live-in housekeeper to avoid suspicion about their relationship.

She claims she and the priest planned to have a child, but when she broke the news, he was not interested.

She told the Daily Record: "Roddy told me he wanted us to have a baby. He told me he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and that he loved me more than anything in the world. But when I told him I was pregnant, he dumped me like a hot potato."

Fr MacNeil held church postings at Oban, Dunoon and South Uist before moving to Barra four years ago. News of his departure was read out during mass in the parish of Our Lady Star of the Sea before Christmas.


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