Teacher 'unlawfully killed' - inquest

AN INVESTIGATION into the death of a popular teacher is to be reviewed by the Crown Prosecution Service after an inquest ruled he was killed unlawfully.

Elliot Furniss

AN INVESTIGATION into the death of a popular teacher is to be reviewed by the Crown Prosecution Service after an inquest ruled he was killed unlawfully.

Nicholas Reeves, 29, an religious education teacher at Sprowston High School in Norfolk, was a passenger in a convertible E-Type Jaguar being driven by Ian Brawn on August 30, 2006, when it left the A120 in Essex and “cart-wheeled” into a field.

The accident happened near Mr Brawn's home in the village of Bradwell, and Mr Reeves suffered fatal injuries.

Although the exact time of the accident has not been established, emergency services were called shortly before 5am.

Yesterday's inquest in Chelmsford heard that Mr Brawn, 60, supplied a blood sample to police later in the morning.

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It revealed an amount of alcohol that, when calculated using a number of different mechanisms, placed him in excess of the drink-drive limit at the time of the crash, according to an independent toxicology expert called by the coroner.

After hearing the evidence of Professor Robert Forrest, Essex Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.

Last night, a spokesman for the CPS said it had requested a copy of Professor Forrest's evidence and would be asking its own experts to look at it.

He said: “In light of the evidence heard at the inquest the CPS will be reviewing the case. Then we will consider as to whether to re-open the prosecution or not.”

If it is to re-open the prosecution, the CPS will need a voluntary bill of indictment from a high court judge.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Reeves' parents, said they hoped there would be a new hearing after an earlier charge of causing death by dangerous driving against Mr Brawn collapsed.

Terry Reeves said: “I feel that justice, so far, hasn't been done. It's up to the CPS - they have to look at it again.”

The court heard from traffic investigator Pc Steve Perrett, who said marks on the road indicated that Mr Brawn had performed a “sudden and harsh” steering manoeuvre.

After leaving the road, the 1967 car - travelling at about 71 mph - collided with a brick culvert and “cart-wheeled” through a fence and into a field before coming to a halt.

Mr Brawn, who was himself badly injured in the crash, told the hearing that he could remember nothing between leaving the Swan pub in Bradwell the previous evening and waking up in the “wreckage” of the Jaguar.

He said: “When I orientated myself I realised that Mr Reeves was missing and called out for him and heard no answer. I searched around the car and eventually found him.”

After recording her verdict, the coroner expressed the court's sympathies to the family and friends of Mr Reeves.

She said: “He was the most gifted young man with a bright future ahead of him and I hope you can dwell on the many happy memories you have of him.”

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