AN inmate accused of attempting to murder a prison officer in Worcestershire is due to stand trial in April.

David Bieber, also known as Nathan Wayne Coleman, is accused of the attempted murder of Alison Smith following an incident at HMP Long Lartin.

The 52-year-old wore a blue shirt, red jumper and glasses on a videolink from HMP Wakefield, during the latest hearing of the case at Worcester Crown Court on Friday, (February 21).

Bieber denies the attempted murder of Alison Smith, wounding her with intent to do her grievous bodily harm and unauthorised possession in prison of a knife or offensive weapon (a pronged metal bar).

The charges relate to an incident at the prison in South Littleton, Evesham, on October 10, 2017.

Bieber had been due to stand trial at the city’s crown court last November, but the court heard at the latest hearing that there had been a number of delays with the case.

Judge Robert Juckes voiced his frustration at the delays, saying he was anxious the trial could slip into 2021, which he said he was now becoming “a risk”.

The judge said though, prior to Friday’s hearing, he had received a letter from the defendant explaining his new position in relation to legal representation.

Judge Juckes explained that last year Bieber had been given permission to transfer his legal aid so he could be represented by another firm of solicitors, which led to him being represented by Jeremy Hayes. But, the judge said, Bieber was now requesting Mr Hayes no longer represent him, asking for a second transfer of legal aid to another solicitors firm.

The judge said: “I cannot possibly grant another transfer (of legal aid). He (Mr Bieber) will have to represent himself.”

The judge added that although Bieber could represent himself, a barrister will need to be appointed for cross examination of witnesses as legally the defendant is not allowed to do this himself.

The trial was set for April 20. Bieber remains in custody until them.

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