TWO children have been orphaned after a man charged with murdering his wife was found dead in his prison cell.
Michael Briggs, 40, had been on remand at Armley Prison, Leeds, accused of killing his 37-year-old wife, Debra, at their Oakes home.
Her body was found by police when they were called to the house on Dean Street, off New Hey Road, at 12.50am last Saturday.
Briggs had phoned family members, who then alerted police.
Briggs was arrested and appeared before Huddersfield magistrates on Monday, charged with murder.
He was said to have strangled his wife.
He was next due to appear at Bradford Crown Court on Monday.
During his appearance before Huddersfield magistrates he looked relaxed and was wearing a short-sleeved, navy blue shirt. When asked by magistrates if he had any questions for the court, he replied: "Not at this stage, no."
Briggs was found dead in his cell at Armley Prison at 7.20am yesterday morning.
The couple leave two children, Charlotte, 16, and 13-year-old Jonathan.
The couple used to play darts at the Highgate Oakes pub on New Hey Road, near their home.
Landlord Ashley Day said: "Everyone at the pub is devastated. We just can't believe all this has happened. Everyone's hearts go out to the children and the other family members.
"Michael was a really nice, quiet man who never had a bad word to say about anybody.
"We never heard him raise his voice or argue with anyone."
Briggs was thought to have been taking tablets for a heart condition. He was a good darts player and represented the Highgate Oakes in the Golcar and District Darts League and teamed up with his wife for mixed pairs matches.
The couple often used to practise darts at home together.
Mrs Briggs - who was known as Debs - represented the Fieldhead Hotel on Quarmby Road, Quarmby.
Briggs was an electrician in the maintenance department at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, where his wife was an auxiliary nurse.
A Prison Service spokesman said Briggs's death would be investigated.
He added: "Police and the coroner have been informed.
"In addition to the coroner's inquest, the prison and probation service ombudsman, Stephen Shaw, will conduct an investigation into the death. This is routine.
"Any death in custody is a tragedy and we offer sincere condolences to Mr Briggs's family."
A West Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: "Police were called to attend Armley Prison at 7.46am after a man aged 40 was found dead in his cell.
"Officers are investigating the circumstances of his death."