Britain's Justice Ministry probes Huntley overdose

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LONDON, Sep 29 (Reuters) An investigation has been launched into how child killer Ian Huntley was able to take an overdose for a third time, Britain's Justice Ministry said today.

Huntley returned to Wakefield Prison late yeserday following his release from hospital after receiving treatment for an overdose of prescription drugs.

''We will be investigating events surrounding this incident.'' a ministry spokeswoman told Reuters.

Huntley attempted suicide in June 2003 while awaiting trial for the double murder of 10-year-old friends Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells in August 2002.

A year ago, Huntley, who was jailed for life in December 2003, was found unconscious in his prison cell after taking a second overdose.

A review of the ''management strategy'' for Huntley at Wakefield was then carried out by Rob Kellett, head of the Prison Service's Standards Audit Unit.

At Huntley's trial, which generated intense media interest both in Britain and abroad, the former school caretaker admitted the girls had died in his home but said the deaths were ''accidents''.

He said Holly died after he slipped and knocked her into a bathtub full of water and that Jessica died when he put his hand over her mouth to stop her screaming.

The prosecution said Huntley murdered the pair after something went wrong when he initiated a sexual encounter with one or both of them.

In 2004, also at Wakefield, Britain's most prolific serial killer Harold Shipman committed suicide by hanging himself with prison bed sheets just before his 58th birthday.

REUTERS SW RK1257

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