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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 August, 2004, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
'Vital' drugs case man found dead
Iris Baker
Iris Baker fears the death will hamper the appeal's chances
A man accused of framing a father convicted of drugs smuggling offences has been found dead on a railway line.

The body of James Prunier was found by staff at Gloucester Station. The death is not being treated as suspicious.

The Stroud man, aged 42, was at the centre of allegations over the conviction of Nick Baker, currently serving a 14-year sentence in Japan.

Baker, 33, claimed Mr Prunier - who was awaiting his own drugs trial - duped him into ferrying 1.4m worth of drugs.

Lawyers acting for Baker, a father of one, began an appeal against his conviction at Tokyo's High Court in March.

Baker's Japanese lawyer said the defence appeal would partly rely on establishing links between Mr Prunier's forthcoming trial for drugs smuggling in Belgium and Baker's case.

Speaking from her Wiltshire home, Baker's mother Iris said she feared the death would remove the last chance of a successful appeal for her son.

British Transport Police confirmed that a post-mortem examination into Mr Prunier's death would take place at 1400 BST on Wednesday.

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