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Source : 01/06/2002 Northampton Chronicle and Echo

A Christian group is praying for forgiveness for the killer of one of their church members.

Jesus Fellowship member Francois Naude died after being beaten during a drunken fight in Bowen Square, Daventry, the day before Christmas Eve by a 22-year-old man.

The 41-year-old Christian from South Africa suffered a brain haemorrhage following or during the fight and his life support machine was switched off on Christmas Eve in Northampton General Hospital.

A friend, who is a member of the Bugbrooke-based Fellowship said: 'the man has been a victim in this tragedy as well. We forgive him as Christians and I hope that when he is in prison, he uses the time wisely and finds God.'

The man, who was initially charged with murder, yesterday admitted manslaughter and was jailed for four years by Judge Julian Hall at Northampton Crown Court.

He told the man: 'When you are sober, you are clearly a pleasant man to know and a useful and productive member of society. When you are in drink, not so.'

'I have to recognise that your behaviour caused the death of someone although you did not intend it.'

Andrew Turton, defending, said the man had been left distressed by Mr Naude's death which he said was something he would have to live with for the rest of his life.

Mr Naude came to the UK from Pietersmaritzburg in 1990 and moved to Daventry last year to live with members of the Jesus Fellowship.

His friend said: 'This thing has affected the whole of Daventry. Francois was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.'

'The whole of the man's family are devastated just as Francois' family in South Africa have suffered.'

'But the point is what do you do? You can't be too lenient or too severe but hopefully justice has been done'.