Prisoner charged with church murder bid found dead in cell

A prison inmate on remand accused of launching a knife attack inside a church has been found dead a week before he was due to stand trial.

John Delahaye, aged 46, was pronounced dead at HMP Birmingham on Monday, a brief hearing at the city's Crown Court was told.

Delahaye was arrested on Sunday September 10 last year after a church elder and two other men suffered injuries during a service at the New Jerusalem Apostolic Church in Aston.

The trial of Delahaye, of Ettington Road, Aston, had been due to face trial at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday charged with attempted murder, making threats to kill, wounding, and two counts of possessing a bladed weapon.

Delahaye was found dead in his cell at HMP Birmingham
Delahaye was found dead in his cell at HMP Birmingham (David Jones/PA)

During a brief court hearing which discontinued proceedings against Delahaye, prosecutor Phil Bradley QC told Judge Paul Farrer: "Your Honour will have seen the interim death certificate.

"The information I have from the officer in the case is that the defendant was discovered on Monday in his cell at about eight o'clock and he was deceased.

"In the circumstances we ask that the indictment be marked accordingly."

In a statement posted on the church's Facebook page shortly after the incident, officials said three members of its congregation had been injured but were recovering well.

The statement said: "We understand that the individual has unfortunately had a number of issues in the past and we do hope and pray that he receives the help he requires in this regard."

A day after the attack, members of the congregation held a service of fellowship and thanksgiving, attended by two of the three individuals who were injured.

A video message from the most seriously injured of the three victims was played to the service, which gave thanks for messages of support from around the world.

In a brief statement confirming Delahaye's next-of-kin had been informed, the director of HMP Birmingham, Rob Kellett said: "Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

"As with any death in custody, this will be investigated by the Prison and Probation Ombudsman."

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