AN author who challenged the work of Sigmund Freud and analysed the fallout from Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses has died.

Richard Webster was found dead at his home in Hayfield Road, North Oxford, on Friday. The 60-year-old, who had heart surgery a decade ago, died of natural causes.

As a young man, Mr Webster studied English literature at the University of East Anglia.

His books include A Brief History of Blasphemy: Liberalism, Censorship and The Satanic Verses and Why Freud Was Wrong: Sin, Science and Pyschoanalysis.

His 2005 book The Secret of Bryn Estyn: The Making of a Modern Witch Hunt, about a child abuse scandal in Wales, was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize.

Iffley author Julie Summers knew Mr Webster through the Writers in Oxford group. She said: “What was so special about him was he had this very gentle, but very, very clear view on things.

You could always rely on him to cut through the mud and see exactly the point of an issue. He had a very clear mind.”