Source : 28/06/1978 Northampton Evening Telegraph
A coroner today quizzed members of a religious sect as an inquest opened into the horror death of a 19-year-old follower - the second member to die within 18 months.
Mr Michael Collcutt said he wanted to discover whether the Jesus Fellowship Church at Bugbrooke, near Northampton, posed any threat to its young members.
He said he received letters from worried parents, concerned about their children in the community. 'This is the second death at this community in the last 18 months, so we are naturally concerned. We want to find out what goes on, and if there is any danger in this community.' said Mr Collcutt.
He was speaking as the inquest opened into the death of Stephen Leslie Orchard, who lived at the sect's headquarters at New Creation Farm, Nether Heyford.
His headless body was found on a railway line alongside the farm on February 28.
Pathologist Dr Robert Sladdon told the court the head had been severed from the body, and death was consistent with multiple injuries received by being struck by a train while lying on the track. A Railway inspector said blood and flesh on the train indicated Mr Orchard had been lying on the track.
Stephen's father said he knew no reason why his son should commit suicide.
'He enjoyed his work. And had no worries that I know of and he was perfectly happy.' said Mr Orchard.
Mr Orchard, his wife and two sons moved to the church from Aylesbury. Under questioning, he said Stephen was very keen on the fellowship, and denied his son wanted to leave.
The inquest is proceeding.