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Church stabbing victim says he's left with mixed emotions and no closure after suspect dies in prison

Fri 09 Mar 2018
By Tola Mbakwe

A man who suffered injuries from a stabbing in his church in September said he's left with mixed emotions after the suspect was found dead in his prison cell.

John Delahaye from Ettington was due to stand trial on Monday, but was pronounced dead exactly a week beforehand.

The 46-year-old was charged with attempted murder, making threats to kill, wounding, and two counts of possessing a bladed weapon.

 

Delahaye was arrested on Sunday 10th September last year after a church elder and two other men suffered injuries during a service at the New Jerusalem Apostolic Church in Aston.

Adam Brooks, who was injured in the attack, told Premier he had mixed emotions when he found out about Delahaye's death.

"It's very sad to hear because he was person, he had a family," he said.

"It still matters that he was a person and I would have never wanted anyone to die. But I do feel a bit disappointed because I did think the trial would be the moment of closure to move forward and let go of this whole thing."

Brooks said he is reminded of the attack every day as he has scars on his neck and hand.

He added: "I can't change anything now. He's no longer here to tell him how I feel. I can't allow this thing to hold me back because there's nothing I can do about it.

"I have to literally pray for myself, pray for him and his family and hope the long term picture is that I'm able to move on."

Proceedings against Delahaye were discontinued this week as prosecutor Phil Bradley QC presented an interim death certificate to a judge.

New Jerusalem Apostolic Church in Aston

 

When asked what churches can learn from the incident, Brooks told Premier it's important for churches to be open to everyone, but there are some little changes that can make a difference.

"Maybe looking at the openness of the church and making sure there's a root of making sure we can observe who's coming into the building," Brooks said.

"[An option is] having CCTV from outside to see who's coming near to the building or having the ability to have stewards or ushers or guardians who can stand strong in the face of something happening.

"Ever since this has happened, our church hasn't changed in terms of people being welcomed in. We're more vigilant.

"We're definitely more aware of threats that may come from someone just walking in one day. But fundamentally we have to be open to the public."

Listen to Adam Brooks speaking with Premier's Alex Williams here:

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