A MANSFIELD schoolteacher may have deliberately caused the late-night road crash that killed him days before he was to be sentenced for sex offences against a teenage boy.
Paul Leslie Taylor (48), of Chaucer Street, had a sexual relationship with a male pupil while working as a teacher at Mansfield's Brunts school.
He had worked at the school for almost 23 years, but he was facing a stint in jail after being convicted of three charges of sexual activity with the boy.
Taylor was due to be sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court on 17th November last year, but died four days before the hearing when he crashed his Renault Megane Coupe into the back of a lorry parked in a lay-by on a notorious stretch of A38 at Clover Nook, Somercotes.
An inquest into his death last week was told that Taylor died of head injuries at the scene and a post-mortem examination found traces of anti-depressants at normal, therapeutic levels.
Trucker Malcolm Riley told police he had parked his articulated lorry and went to sleep in a bed in his cab at 9.30pm.
He was woken up a few hours later by a 'terrific' impact from behind that knocked him out of his bunk. He then found the Megane embedded under the rear of the trailer and immediately dialled 999.
Mr Riley believed he had left the lorry's parking lights on, but forensic tests showed this was not the case.
Said collision investigator Pc Ian Phillips: "Although it is a legal requirement to have lamps illuminated during darkness the reflectors were intact and the vehicle would have been visible for a minimum distance of 300 metres."
He found no evidence of Taylor losing control of the vehicle or taking evasive action prior to the crash.
Said North Derbyshire coroner Tom Kelly: "He either deliberately drove into the back of the lorry or it was an accident. I'm not going to conjecture which it was."
No defects were found on the vehicle, which was travelling at 70mph on impact according to the speedometer, which had frozen on impact. The speed was consistent with the damage caused to the car.
The coroner recorded a verdict of death from injuries sustained in a road traffic collision.