CHILD killer Leslie Bailey, accused of ''despicable'' cruelty in his

abuse of a seven-year-old boy, has been found strangled in his prison


Mr Andrew Barclay, governor of top security Whitemoor jail in

Cambridgeshire, said Bailey had been threatened during his time in

prison and as a result was held in a special wing along with other

vulnerable prisoners.

Police said they were not ruling out suicide, although they were

treating his death as ''suspicious''.

Detective Superintendent Bob Wordsworth said: ''At this time we are

holding an open inquiry and we are questioning staff and inmates to try

and ascertain when he was last seen alive.''

Mr Barclay said he would be holding an internal inquiry and reviewing

procedures as a result of Bailey's death.

He added: ''Staff behaved very professionally and clearly found the

experience stressful.''

Bailey's body was discovered by prison officers on Thursday night

during lock-up. A ligature was found nearby.

A post-mortem examination revealed that Bailey, 40, from Hackney, died

from strangulation by a ligature.

Bailey, known as Catweazel, was a member of a paedophile ring which

abused and killed three boys and is believed to have murdered up to


Mr Barclay said: ''During his time in prison there will have been

threats. But over the last few months Bailey has been quite settled.

''The possibility of a self-inflicted injury has not been ruled out.

For a person to be found within a prison system with a ligature nearby

means that we have to treat it as a suspicious death.''

Bailey was given two life sentences last October after pleading guilty

to the manslaughter and buggery of seven-year-old Mark Tildesley, who

vanished after visiting a fairground near his home in Wokingham,

Berkshire, in June 1984. His body has never been found.

At the time, Bailey was already serving a life sentence for the murder

of six-year-old Barry Lewis, abducted near his home in south-east

London, and a further 15-year sentence for the manslaughter of

14-year-old rent boy Jason Swift.

Mr Justice Hidden, passing sentence at Reading Crown Court, told

Bailey that what he had inflicted on Mark Tildesley before his death was

''inhuman, wicked and totally harrowing''.

The Judge added: ''Your cruelty to this defenceless little boy just

before he died was absolutely despicable.''

The boy's father, John, 60, said he was not surprised at the news of

Bailey's death.

''The police tell us what is going on in the prison and I have heard

whispers that other prisoners did not like Bailey because of the awful

crime he had committed.

''I think that he has got his just desserts. There are a lot of people

who were against him for murdering my son.''

He added: ''If I found out who strangled him, I would shake hands with


''Whoever did it, did a good job. They saved the Government and the

taxpayers a lot of money.

''A life for a life, as it says in the Bible. That is the way it

should be.''

Mr Tildesley admitted it reduced the chances of finding his son's


''We keep on hoping that we will find out where he was buried so we

can give him a proper resting place. But it is yet another link broken.

''My wife hasn't worked since the boy's death. Obviously it still

affects us every day.''

Bailey was sent to Whitemoor in 1992. The prison said the regime on

the wings was ''open and active''.

Detective Superintendent Wordsworth told a news conference at March

police station that there were no specific signs of a struggle.

He added that it was possible to strangle oneself.