Suspect in double murder commits suicide

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A Lithuanian man charged with the brutal murder of a police officer's parents has been found dead in his prison cell.

Rimvydas Liorancas, 37, was on remand at Woodhill Prison in Milton Keynes while awaiting trial for the murders of Avtar and Carole Kolar earlier this month.

He was found hanging in his cell by prison staff on Saturday, only twelve days after being charged. Police kept the news of the death secret until his family in Lithuania had been informed.

A Prison Service spokesman said: "Staff attempted resuscitation and paramedics attended but he was pronounced dead at 9.30am."

An investigation into the apparent suicide will be carried out by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.

Mr and Mrs Kolar's family revealed yesterday that they had been informed of Liorancas's death by West Midlands Police on Saturday. "We ask that we be left alone as we continue to grieve over the deaths of our mum and dad," they said in a statement.

Mr Kolar, 62, and his wife, 58, were found dead at their home in Handsworth Wood, Birmingham, on January 11.

The couple were killed in a brutal attack, thought to have been carried out with a lump hammer found at the scene. Post-mortem examinations revealed both died as a result of blunt-force trauma to the head.

It is believed they were killed in a bungled burglary and a number of items stolen from the property were later recovered. Their bodies were discovered by their policeman son, Jason, who went to check on his parents after they did not respond to calls.

Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Jupp, from West Midlands Police, was prompted to deny that the deaths were connected to their son's occupation.

"I can confirm that the motive of these murders was not due to the fact that Jason is a serving police officer," Mr Jupp said.

"I can also confirm that it was nothing to do with the work the force undertakes in relation to gangs."

A team of 60 officers from West Midlands Police worked around the clock on the case and a manhunt was launched to find the killer. Liorancas was arrested in Birmingham on January 16. He appeared at Birmingham Crown Court on January 23, where he listened to proceedings via an interpreter and spoke only to confirm his name. He was due to appear in court again for a plea hearing on May 25 and a trial date was fixed for August 28.

It is understood he was not considered at risk of suicide or self-harm.

At an emotional press conference the day after the couple were found dead, their daughter, Michelle Kirwan, 39, and her brother, Avtar Kolar, 32, held hands and sobbed as they said their hearts had been "broken forever". Mrs Kirwan paid tribute to her parents, adding: "My mum and dad were the sweetest, kindest people that I have ever met and would do anything for anyone.

"They were the beautiful parents of myself, Jason, Taz and Marie, and the precious nanna and grandad of eight grandchildren, who adored them with all their hearts."

Mr and Mrs Kolar often helped to look after the grandchildren and Mrs Kirwan said the family "could not have been closer".

The killing

Avtar Singh-Kolar and his wife, Carole, were found beaten to death at their home. The main suspect, Rimvydas Liorancas, right, has killed himself