Former football coach who crashed car before abuse trial ‘took his own life’

first_img Read more news Share on Messenger Share on Twitter Kit Carson, a football star-maker with a dark history of alleged abuse A junior football coach killed himself on the morning of his trial on child sexual abuse charges by driving his car at speed directly into a tree, an inquest into his death has concluded.Michael “Kit” Carson, 75, who helped develop a series of well-known footballers, was driving in the wrong direction on his way to Peterborough crown court where his trial would take place, the inquest was told on Monday.Assistant coroner Simon Milburn concluded Carson deliberately took his own life after police said the road conditions were good, no other traffic was involved and there was no evidence that he had lost control of his car.The inquest in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, heard that Carson’s red Mazda travelled along a grass verge for almost 50 metres before smashing head-on into a tree. No alcohol or drugs were found in his body that could have affected his judgement, neither other underlying illnesses that could have contributed.Speaking after the hearing, former Peterborough junior player Dion Raitt, who has described being abused both by Carson and a second junior coach, Bob Higgins, now serving a prison sentence for sexual attacks that took place over 25 years, said he had mixed emotions at the conclusion.Raitt said: “Carson took the coward’s way out. He’s not going to remain thought of as a great coach any more. Everyone can see through it now. He’s committed suicide on the day of court to avoid prison. That is cowardly. Survivors haven’t had their day in court but this just may help them get some closure.”Raitt, an ambassador for the organisation the Offside Trust, which works with survivors of abuse in sport, said he hoped the coroner’s conclusion might prompt others to come forward.Steve Walters, another football abuse survivor and a spokesperson for the Offside Trust, expressed relief and said the conclusion would “provide some justice to survivors of Carson”.During a successful career, Carson worked as a junior developer for clubs including Norwich City and Peterborough United and also scouted for Chelsea.After the Guardian broke the football abuse scandal, dozens of former players contacted the police about Carson. He was arrested and due to be tried by a jury on charges involving 11 boys, which he denied.In a statement to the inquest, Carson’s widow, Pauline, said they had got on with family life while he was on bail and he had been looking forward to defending himself in court.But she added he had got mixed up over the date of the trial and thought he had to be in court on Wednesday 9 January.She said that at 9am on the morning of Monday 7 January, Carson contacted his barrister to ask him about the arrangements for that week only to be told that he needed to be in court at 10am that day. His barrister told him to take his time but to get to court when he could.Carson quickly changed into a pinstriped suit, a tie and said goodbye to his wife, the court heard. “He was stressed and confused,” she said.The most direct route to the court from Carson’s home in Cambridge was west via the A14 and north up the A1 – a 40-mile journey. Children Topics Share on Facebookcenter_img Reuse this content Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Share via Email Child protection Share on Pinterest But Carson appears to have driven east and shortly after 9.30am his Mazda left the A1303 near the village of Bottisham and smashed into a tree. Passersby, paramedics and an air ambulance crew tried to save his life but he died from brain injuries.A forensic collision investigator, PC Sean Redman, said the weather was calm and clear and the road surface not slippery.The Mazda’s tyre tracks suggested the vehicle had left the road without skidding or braking and the car had travelled in a straight line into the tree. There was no evidence that any other vehicle was involved and the car had no mechanical faults. Carson was not using his phone at the time. He was wearing his seat belt.The officer agreed with the coroner that the route had not been the “logical” one to take if he had been heading to court and Carson appeared to have been heading away from Peterborough rather than towards it. There were no traffic delays on the A14 or A1 that might have prompted Carson to try to find an alternative route.The coroner said there was no evidence of Carson taking “avoiding action” before hitting the tree. He said: “In my view the obvious inference is that he intended to take his own life. My conclusion is that sadly Mr Carson committed suicide.”Members of Carson’s family, including his wife, attended the hearing but did not comment.Carson had denied counts of indecent assault and one of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity between 1978 and 2009.In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email [email protected] or [email protected] In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at

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