Inquest opens into jail death of man charged with murder

John Heald
John Heald

An inquest has been opened after a man on trial for murdering a guest house landlady and raping a woman was found dead in prison.

John Heald, aged 53, sparked a manhunt across South Yorkshire when he went missing after allegedly stabbing to death landlady Bei Carter in Bridlington and raping a woman in Sheffield last July.

He was awaiting the verdict of a jury at Hull Crown Court but was found dead at Hull Prison on Friday.

Judge Jeremy Richardson QC told the court Heald had committed suicide amid reports he was found hanged in his cell.

Heald, of Foljambe Road, Dalton, Rotherham, denied murder and three counts of rape.

A post mortem examination to try to establish the cause of death has been conducted and an inquest was opened at Hull Coroners’ Court yesterday.

Professor Paul Marks, senior coroner for Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire, adjourned the hearing to a date to be fixed.

No details about the funeral service have been announced.

The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman said it had begun an independent investigation into his death.