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Former Newmarket youth football coach Michael 'Kit' Carson killed himself deliberately by driving his car into a tree, inquest hears

A former Newmarket youth football coach killed himself by driving into a tree just minutes before he was set to go on trial accused of sexually abusing young boys.

Assistant Cambridgeshire coroner Simon Milburn ruled today Michael 'Kit' Carson "deliberately" drove head on into a tree on the A1303, near Bottisham, on January 7.

Seventy-five-year-old Mr Carson had pleaded not guilty to abusing 11 boys all under 16, on various dates between 1978 and 2009, and was set to be tried at Peterborough Crown Court on 12 counts of indecent assault and one of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Kit Carson at Cambridge Magistrates' Court Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Kit Carson at Cambridge Magistrates' Court Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Mr Milburn said the route Mr Carson had been travelling in was 'not the most logical' and PC Sean Redman, a forensic collision investigator at Cambridgeshire Police, told Huntingdon Law Courts there had been no roadworks or delays on the A14 to suggest it would have been quicker for him to travel from his Cambridge home to court.

PC Redman told the court there were no signs of evasive action to steer out of the crash.

Kit Carson with Newmarket Valley players in July 1981
Kit Carson with Newmarket Valley players in July 1981

He said there was a 48 metre 'rolling tyre mark' from the edge of the road to the tree he crashed into.

"If there had been some sort of steering or harsh breaking I would have expected the loose stones and gravel would have been pushed forward where the vehicle was travelling," the inquest heard.

He told the court that police were unable to work out the speed of the vehicle, but from security camera footage captured just minutes before the crash Mr Carson was not travelling abnormally fast.

Mr Carson's Mazda 3 car crashed at 9.45am, just 15 minutes before he was set to stand trial.

Flowers left where Kit Carson died(16322807)
Flowers left where Kit Carson died(16322807)

A post-mortem test by Dr Kieren Alison found he died from traumatic brain injury. The court heard he had not drank alcohol or used drugs before the crash and was not using a mobile phone.

In a statement his wife Pauline Carson said there was nothing out of the ordinary before he left for court. "We were relieved that the case was about to start and Kit would be able to present his defence," she said.

The former Newmarket Valley coach had received a call from his defence barrister Mark McDonald just after 9am who said he had to be in court. Mr McDonald said he "seemed quite surprised" to find out he was needed.

He said he tried to calm him down and take his time, the inquest heard.

In the late 1970s and into the early 1980s Mr Carson had been a highly respected youth football coach in Newmarket.

He lived in Studlands Park and was primarily associated with the Newmarket Valley side which, at the time, was the town's top youth team, winning international tournaments and the Suffolk Cup.

He also ran Newmarket-based sports tour operator C and G Ltd and, in 1979, became commercial manager of Soham Town Rangers in what was one of the first such local commercial partnerships of its kind.

He was arrested in 2017 following allegations of historic sex abuse.

Concluding, Mr Milburn said he had to give his findings on 'the balance of probabilities'.

"Having considered the circumstances of the collision itself, its location and the circumstances he found himself at that time, I do think I can infer that Mr Carson steered a deliberate cause off the carriageway and drove into that tree deliberately," he told the court.

"The obvious inference that he intended to take his own life and as a result my conclusion to the death is that, sadly, Mr Carson committed suicide."