Rev Richard Coles reveals abuse after death of partner

Broadcaster Rev Richard Coles has revealed that he has been subjected to abuse following the death of his partner.

The former Strictly Come Dancing contestant said he has received messages from a minority of people, including one that said his partner is “in hell” and that he “will follow”.

Coles announced on Tuesday that his civil partner, Rev David Coles, who was also a priest, died after a long illness.

Two days later, Coles wrote that there had been “99.99999% loveliness from people and then a small but lively correspondence from Christians who wish me to know that D is in hell and I will follow.”

“It’s like the Khmer Rouge suddenly popping up in a stream of condolence.”

He said: “A letter, courageously unsigned, begins: ‘Dear Mr Coles, I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am to hear of the death of your partner…’.”

In a follow-up tweet he added: “It continues ‘I have been praying for your pain for a long time now…’.”

A short while later Coles tweeted that the “horrible letters: they don’t touch me”.

“I am right now an expert in pain, the real kind, and these are paper darts among the incoming, and just leave me mildly curious about the state of mind of the writer.”

Along with the tweet he posted a picture of a pot of green ink, a reference to the journalistic term “green ink brigade” about hate mail largely being sent into news organisations written in the coloured pen.

Dianne Buswell, Coles’ former Strictly partner, tweeted: “Disgusting thinking of you x.”

Comedian Tim Minchin replied: “So pathetic I can’t even be bothered searching for the yawn emoji. xx.”

According to former Communards star Coles’ official website, he and David lived together in their vicarage, “which is gradually being destroyed by … dachshunds Daisy, Pongo, Audrey and Horatio”.

The couple met in 2007 after a sermon and Coles has spoken openly about their celibacy.

He previously told Christian Today: “Of course it has its challenges and sacrifices … We live in good standing with the teaching of the Church, but I wouldn’t wish that to imply that I saw that as a good and noble thing, because I don’t, but it is currently where we are.”