Sex assault arrest teacher killed himself

A FORMER teacher committed suicide before he was due to answer police bail over allegations of sexual assault.

A FORMER teacher committed suicide before he was due to answer police bail over allegations of sexual assault.

An inquest heard how the body of Paul Powell, 45, who lived on a house boat at Sea Lake Marina, Oulton Broad, near Lowestoft, was discovered down an embankment near to the train tracks at the Old Cattle Market in Norwich in May.

It was clear the body had been there some time.

A post mortem examination revealed Mr Powell died from chest and pelvic injuries in keeping with a significant impact on the right side of the body.

A jury inquest held on Thursday at the Assembly House in Norwich heard from Greater Norfolk Coroner William Armstrong that Mr Powell had been subject to a police investigation into a “serious offence” on November 20 last year, had been arrested on February 10 this year and was due to answer police bail on May 6.

As previously reported, Mr Powell, a former headteacher of Loddon Junior School, was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a child under the age of 13. He left the school following an investigation into a complaint made about him.

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The inquest heard that Mr Powell failed to appear at Bethel Street Police Station on May 6, but would have been charged in connection with the offence as the Crown Prosecution Service believed they had sufficient evidence.

Mr Powell's body was found by Jamie Harrison, an overhead lineman for Network Rail, at about 12.15pm on Saturday, May 16.

“At first I believed it to be some kind of mannequin from a shop window, but on second glance realised it was a human body,” said Mr Harrison. He was yesterday thanked at the inquest for finding Mr Powell by his mother Pauline.

The inquest heard how Mr Powell, a student at the International Boat Building College in Oulton Broad had become “disillusioned” with teaching and planned to renovate his boat to take it abroad.

After Mr Powell failed to answer bail in Norwich, PC Robert Meen visited the house boat in Oulton Broad to carry out a welfare visit.

The officer said he was “overcome by the smell of fumes of fuel” from inside the boat in which he discovered a hose pipe connected to the vessel's exhaust.

Although he found no-one on board, PC Meen did find a stack of envelopes with a handwritten note on top penned by Mr Powell which “apologised for the distress he had caused by his actions”.

The jury of six men and five women established Mr Powell died on or about May 5 or 6 in the area of the railway embankment at the Old Cattle Market near Hall Road.

They returned a verdict of suicide while in a disturbed state of mind.