THE former school caretaker accused of murdering schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman left hospital yesterday after being treated for a drugs overdose.

Ian Huntley, 29, left Milton Keynes General Hospital and was returned to nearby Woodhill prison, where he is being held on remand pending trial.

Police surrounded a rear entrance of the hospital to make sure Mr Huntley had a speedy return to Woodhill, where he is continuing treatment in the jail's hospital wing.

Mr Huntley, of Soham, Cambridgeshire, was taken to the hospital in the early hours of Monday after being found in his cell.

Prison sources said he had taken nearly 30 anti-depressant tablets, which he had hoarded in teabags.

He was treated in the hospital's intensive care unit and was said to be in a coma on arrival.

On Monday his condition was described as ''critical but stable'', but yesterday he was said to be in ''comfortable'' condition and breathing without the aid of a ventilator.

Mr Huntley, who denies murdering Holly and Jessica, is due to stand trial at the Old Bailey in October. He has admitted conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

Police said officers were continuing to prepare on the basis that he would be fit to stand trial.

Holly and Jessica's parents issued a statement saying that they had been kept informed of developments.

''We are now reassured to hear that he is expected to stand trial,'' said the statement.

The Prison Service has begun an inquiry after demands for an explanation.

Holly and Jessica disappeared last August 4 after being seen walking near their homes in Soham.

Their bodies were found two weeks later in a ditch near Lakenheath, Suffolk.