Church says will support Canadian bus beheading suspect and wife

A church that once employed the man charged with attacking and beheading his seatmate on a bus in Canada last week says it plans to offer support to the accused and his wife.

Grant Memorial Church in Winnipeg formerly employed 40-year-old Vince Weiguang Li as a church custodian after he immigrated to Canada in 2004. Li, a Chinese immigrant, has been charged with second degree murder for the brutal attack on 22-year-old Tim Mclean on a Greyhound bus as it made its way along the TransCanada Highway in Manitoba late last Wednesday.

The church's leader, Pastor Tom Castor said on Sunday that there had been nothing in Li's behaviour to cause concern.

"He seemed like a person who was happy to have a job, was committed to doing it well and didn't stand out in any way (in terms of) having anger issues or having any other issues," Castor was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

Li left his job at the church in spring of 2005 before moving to Edmonton, where he was working as a newspaper courier up to the time of the attack.

His newspaper employer, Vince Augert, described Li as a "model employee" who was "very punctual" and "a very nice, polite guy".

In a killing that has shocked the world with its brutality, witnesses say that the suspect suddenly started stabbing the man sitting next to him, before severing his head and cutting up the body within sight of more than 30 horrified passengers who fled the bus.

Li said nothing when he appeared in court in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, last Friday charged with the killing, only nodding slightly when asked if he was exercising his right to remain silent.

Pastor Castor said that Li had been properly vetted before being hired by the church and was without a criminal record. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police also said that Li did not have any criminal history.

"We are very thorough in our assessments, and there was nothing we could have foreseen," Castor was quoted as saying by AP.

The pastor said that Li's wife, Anna, also an immigrant from China, was "shocked and very much afraid as to what this is going to mean for her own life".