Ampleforth: Man accused of setting fire to GP surgery in Yorkshire village and assaulting member of staff dies in prison

A man suspected of setting fire to the GP surgery in a peaceful Yorkshire village and attacking a member of staff has died in jail before his trial.

York Crown Court sat briefly on Tuesday to hear that John Leadbitter, 62, had passed away in HMP Hull, where he had been held since the incident in Ampleforth, in the North York Moors, last August.

The case file was declared closed as a result of his death.

Leadbitter had been charged with arson with intent to endanger life, assault causing actual bodily harm, possession of a knife and affray. His legal team had previously indicated that he may not have been fit to plead if a trial had gone ahead and psychiatric assessments were being carried out.

The arson attack happened in the village GP surgery in Ampleforth, near YorkThe arson attack happened in the village GP surgery in Ampleforth, near York
The arson attack happened in the village GP surgery in Ampleforth, near York
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Ampleforth Surgery’s reception area was set on fire during the incident, causing significant damage that closed the practice and pharmacy for several months.

Staff also had to undergo trauma counselling sessions after one of them was assaulted. The surgery was closed until November, and the conservatory was so badly damaged that it had to be demolished.