Weeks before sex abuse trial former Ipswich RE teacher found dead

Zouave Gooden, 19, from Romford, pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin in Ipswich. 

Francis Carolan's trial was due to start at Ipswich Crown Court on April 19 - Credit: Charlotte Bond

A former RE teacher at a top Suffolk private school has been found dead weeks before he was due to face trial over alleged child sex offences. 

Francis Carolan, 58, who previously worked at St Joseph's College in Ipswich, had denied sexually assaulting a teenage boy in the early 1990s. 

His trial, which was expected to last five to seven days, was due to begin at Ipswich Crown Court on April 19. 

Carolan, who was also an assistant housemaster at the Ipswich independent school, was found dead at an address in Colonnade Gardens, Eastbourne, Sussex on Tuesday, March 29.

Sussex Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death. 

Judge David Pugh disposed of the case at a hearing held at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday. 

Carolan, of Queens Road, Portsmouth, previously appeared at Ipswich Crown Court via video link on November 18 last year for a plea and trial preparation hearing. 

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At that hearing, he pleaded not guilty to four offences of indecent assault on a boy aged between 14 and 15. 

The alleged offences related to one boy, the court heard.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: "On Tuesday, March 29, the body of a man was found at an address in Colonnade Gardens, Eastbourne.

"There were no suspicious circumstances and the coroner's officer is continuing enquiries."