Inquest hears former RE teacher awaiting trial took his own life

The inquest into former St Joseph's College teacher Francis Carolan was heard in Hastings

Francis Carolan previously worked at St Joseph's College, in Ipswich, denied sexually assaulting a teenage boy in the early 1990s. - Credit: Archant

A former RE teacher at a top Suffolk private school took his own life, an inquest into his death has ruled.

Francis Carolan was found dead at his apartment in Colonnade Gardens, Eastbourne, Sussex, on Tuesday, March 29.

The 58-year-old, who previously worked at St Joseph's College, in Ipswich, as a teacher and as an assistant housemaster had denied sexually assaulting a teenage boy in the early 1990s. 

He was found dead shortly before his trial was due to start at Ipswich Crown Court. 

He was on court bail at the time of his death after pleading not guilty to four offences of indecent assault on a boy aged between 14 and 15. 

Fiona King, assistant coroner at East Sussex Coroner's Court, ruled that Mr Carolan had taken his own life and recorded a verdict of suicide at his inquest on Tuesday. 

A statement from his family said that he was the youngest of four children and had chosen teaching as his profession.

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He taught in Asia, including as a headteacher at a school in China, and was "supporting and encouraging of his pupils". 

The statement continued that Mr Carolan loved to travel, loved the good life, food and a glass of wine. 

He was a "dapper dresser" and loved his watches and shoes. 

He was diagnosed with mouth cancer five years ago and fought it with courage and fortitude. 

"The ups were amazing, the downs were overwhelming. You are sorely missed dear brother," the statement concluded. 

Mr Carolan was found by staff at Colonnade Gardens after his solicitor called to say they could not get in contact with him.

The former teacher had been living at the address since February and was described by staff as being well dressed.

He was found at 12.45pm on March 29. 

Ambulance and police arrived at the flat and Mr Carolan was then declared deceased. 

Evidence from Sussex Police said a Louis Vuitton bag was found containing a washing bag with cash and jewellery and two notes.

The assistant coroner said the notes indicated his intention. 

The court heard there were no concerns of third-party involvement and that officers had viewed CCTV at the property. 

Officers reported the last time Mr Carolan was seen entering his flat was on March 27 at 6.03pm.