Page last updated at 14:19 GMT, Sunday, 22 November 2009

South Korean mass murderer kills himself on death row

Jeong Nam-kyu (file pic: 2006)
Jeong Nam-kyu committed murder, robbery, assault and rape

One of South Korea's most prolific mass murderers has killed himself while on death row.

The Justice Ministry said Jeong Nam-kyu died in hospital on Sunday - a day after being found hanging in his cell.

In 2007, the 40-year-old was convicted of murdering 13 people and robbing, raping and assaulting 20 others during a two year spree.

Although South Korea still has the death penalty, it has not carried out an execution in 12 years.

'Suicide note'

In a statement, the ministry said Jeong is thought to have died from a heart attack or brain injuries resulting from what is believed to be his suicide attempt.

He was found guilty on a range of charges from 2004 including mass murder, robbery, assault and rape.

He is believed to have left a note indicating he was worried about his execution, the Associated Press news agency reported.

No will has been discovered, although reports say the note said: "Life is like a cloud."

The last execution in the country took place in 1997.

The following year Kim Dae-jung, who was sentenced to death under the country's military rulers in 1980 before being pardoned, took office as president.

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