VIDEO: McConnell pledges to defend Gospel as throngs of supporters rally round

A large crowd burst into a rendition of Onward Christian Soldiers just outside the courtroom as pastor James McConnell emerged from his latest hearing.

Following loud cheers, the pastor – aged 78 – began to address the crowd in a style of a preacher in a pulpit, shortly after the very brief hearing into his case ended.

Pastor James McConnell

Pastor James McConnell

He has been in court over a sermon he gave, broadcast over the internet, in which he said he did not trust Muslims and claimed Islam was “satanic”.

He told the throng gathered outside the courtroom on the building’s second floor: “Your support has been tremendous”.

He went on to add: “We’re the best church in the British Isles. I want to thank my pastors for being here, [and] other pastors, other ministers I see about here.

“Thank you for coming.

James McConnell

James McConnell

“We’re defending the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!”

Shortly after he finished speaking, a woman at the front of the crowd began singing the old Christian battle-style hymn.

She was soon joined by others, before the pastor urged them to disperse and headed outside.

Recording and photography are forbidden inside the court building.

But he then addressed reporters at the gates of the court (see video above).

In this video, his supporters – one of whom had travelled from Germany to be by his side – explained why they had come down to the courthouse to show their backing.