Abbot blames depressed monk’s suicide on the Da Vinci Code

A monk may have leapt to his death from a monastery after reading The Da Vinci Code, it emerged yesterday.

Abbot Alan Rees, 64, a revered figure in the Benedictine community, fell 30ft from a second-storey balcony at Belmont Abbey in Herefordshire last October. The Swansea-born monk had suffered from depression for the past 12 years.

At a recent inquest into his death, Fr Paul Stonham, the Abbey’s replacement abbot, linked his last bout of depression to a novel. There is speculation that he was referring to The Da Vinci Code. The book’s central theme, that Christianity is a sexist conspiracy, has been condemned by cardinals and church historians.