A PRIME suspect in a murder case died overnight just hours before he was due to appear before a crown court judge.

John Wright, of the Hollands, Thatcham, appeared at Reading Magistrates' Court yesterday after mother-of-two Janine Bowater was found dead at her home in the early hours of Tuesday.

The 32-year-old was remanded in custody overnight after the case was deemed too serious to be dealt with by the lower courts.

He was due to appear before a crown court judge today (Friday) but it was revealed he had died while in police custody.

Reading Chronicle:

Michael Roques, prosecuting, said: "He was due to be here for a first appearance today, but Mr Wright died late yesterday.

"We will adjourn the case for seven days so that the prosecution can gather evidence and address the matter in these special circumstances."

A post-mortem into Ms Bowater's death found that she died from strangulation. 

A tribute released on behalf of the 25-year-old's family reads: "Losing a loved one is never easy but we have lost Janine in one of the most awful ways possible.

"She has been so cruelly taken from her partner Lee and her two young children who she doted on.

"Not only were you an amazing caring mother and daughter you were also a loving partner and sister.

Reading Chronicle:

"Little did we know that night, all our lives would change forever. You will be missed so much by all your family and everyone that loves you.

"Sleep tight beautiful, shine bright, you'll forever be in our hearts."

Wright's court case, being overseen by Judge Johanna Cutts, will be heard again on December 22.

Graham Blower, defending, refused to give any details surrounding the circumstances of his death.

A Prison Service spokesman added: “HMP Bullingdon prisoner John Wright died in custody on Thursday.

“As with all deaths in custody, there will be an independent investigation by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.

"It would therefore be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”