Council worker suspended for urging sick woman to turn to God

A Christian council worker has been suspended from his work after encouraging a terminally ill woman to turn to God.

Nigerian-born Duke Amachree, 53, has been a homelessness prevention officer for Wandsworth Council for the last 17 years.

Mr Amachree, a member of the UK World Evangelism Church in London, was suspended over a conversation he had with a 30-year-old woman who sought advice from the council in January.

In the 50 minute conversation, the client told Amachree she was concerned she would be made homeless as her landlord was going to sell her flat.

The woman is also reported to have said that she wanted to find housing near a hospital, in order to receive treatment for an “incurable bowel condition”.

The woman claims Amachree then told her not to trust her doctors. However, Mr Amachree claims that he said “sometimes the doctors don’t have all the answers”, while saying that she should put her faith in God.

According to The Daily Mail, a senior council source said of the disciplinary action, “This woman was subjected to a half-hour barrage and basically told it was her fault she was so ill because she had not prayed to God. Moreover the complainant says Mr Amachree told her not to trust what doctors say, which is very dangerous.”

Mr Amachree has said he was shocked to discover he had been suspended, “I was stunned when I was suspended. It was like a bad dream.”

He is now taking legal action against the council, with the help of the Christian Legal Centre.

According to CLC solicitor Mr Michael Phillips, Mr Amachree’s employers told him that ‘God had to be kept out of the workplace’. When Mr Phillips asked council representatives if ‘God bless’ was acceptable, he was told that it would not be appropriate and that any complaint would again lead to an investigation.

CLC has instructed leading human rights barrister, Paul Diamond, to take up the case.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, director of the CLC, said: “We are supporting Mr Amachree in this case because it is absurd to think that any public body could be in a position to enforce a policy which means that you can’t even say ‘God Bless’ . This would effectively mean that faith would become entirely privatised. A Christian cannot leave faith out of any aspect of his or her life including work .”

Mr Amachree’s legal team are waiting to hear the outcome of the internal inquiry.