THE traditional Easter message by the Bishop of Wakefield will feature a controversial reference to Britain's worst serial killer.

The Right Rev Stephen Platten will addresses hundreds of worshippers in the city's cathedral tomorrow with a sermon entitled Mystery and New Life.

In the sermon, the Bishop reveals that tomorrow morning he will visit Wakefield Prison - home to some of Britain's most notorious criminals including child killers Ian Huntley and Roy Whiting as well as `Cannibal Killer' Robert Mawdsley.

The sermon tells how when preparing for the Easter service the Bishop remembered the suicide of Shipman.

The killer doctor from Hyde in Greater Manchester was found dead in his cell after he hung himself on the the morning of Tuesday, January 13, 2004.

He was jailed for life in January 2000 for murdering 15 patients while working in Hyde. An official report later concluded he had killed between 215 and 260 people over a 23-year period in Hyde, Todmorden and West Yorkshire.

He was later found to be responsible for a number of deaths while working as a junior doctor at Pontefract General Infirmary in the 1970s.

In the sermon, the Bishop refers back to a newspaper article at the time of Shipman's death which said his suicide appealed to our sense of poetic justice and the reflection that evil threatens human reason and challenges hope that the world makes sense.

He goes on: "This takes us to the very heart of human existence.

"What can life be without hope? What could encourage us to continue living in a worl that no longer makes sense?"

The Bishop, whose nomination to Wakefield Cathedral was approved by the Queen in 2003, will then read from a newspaper article of the time.

The piece, by Paul Vallely, says: "Perhaps his suicide reveals that, four years on, with only his own company in that lonely Wakefield cell, he finally took the fateful step that crosses from the realms of evil into the territpry of remorse, which distinguishes the world the rest of us live in from the one in which the psychopath is imprisoned."

He adds: "Evil, as in the life of Harold Shipman and other terrifyingly tragic figures, does not win out."