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Jury told that man found dead in Leeds prison cell was convicted baby murderer

Liam Deane. PIC: PA
Liam Deane. PIC: PA

A MURDER trial has heard how a man found dead in his cell at Armley jail was serving a sentence for the murder of a child under one year old.

Jurors were also told that the man accused of murdering 22-year-old Liam Deane is serving a sentence for rape and inflicting grievous bodily harm.

John Westland, 29, is accused of murdering Deane in their shared cell at the Leeds prison on November 12 last year.

Prosecutor Peter Moulson, QC, said Deane had pleaded guilty guilty to murder and was sentenced to life with a minimum of ten years on October 5 last year at Leeds Crown Court.

Westland was jailed at Oxford Crown Court in November 2008 for the sex attack.

Mr Moulson said Deane had received a letter five days before his death informing him that the attorney general had applied for leave to go to the Court of Appeal because the minimum sentence he had received was considered ‘unduly lenient.’

The court heard the letter was recovered from the cell after Deane’s body was discovered.

The prosecution claims Westland used a smashed aftershave bottle to murder Deane.

Deane was found dead by prison officers on the top bunk of his cell after Westland pressed an emergency buzzer

At the time of the alleged attack they were the only two people sharing the cell.

Opening the trial last week, Mr Moulson said: “Mr Deane was found dead because someone, say the prosecution, had assaulted him.

“Obviously there is only one candidate.”

The jury of seven women and five men were told that Deane had been attacked by a fragment of fragments of glass from the aftershave bottle.

Mr Mouslon said there was also evidence that Deane had been strangled.

Westland pleads not guilty to murder.

Mr Moulson also read a statement to the jury today from Deane’s mother.

The statement described how she had feared for her son’s safety in prison but did not think he was capable of taking his own life.

She said: “I can say as Liam’s mother that this is just not something he would ever do.

“He knew to ask me for help if he needed it.

“I did not like my son for what he had done but I’m his mother and I still love him.”

The trial continues