AN IRISH former youth football coach and scout accused of sexually abusing young boys has died in a road crash the day before he was due to stand trial.
Michael 'Kit' Carson, 75, was scheduled to face 12 counts of historical sexual abuse against boys aged under 16 at Peterborough Crown Court on Tuesday.
But the former Norwich City, Peterborough United and Cambridge United employee died when he drove his car into a tree in Cambridgeshire on Monday morning.
He died at the scene at around 9.45am, police said.
Peterborough Crown Court was informed of his death on Tuesday morning. Jeremy Benson, prosecuting, told the courtroom: "The defendant died yesterday morning.
"There is an investigation being carried out and I therefore don't propose to go into any other details."
In a statement, Cambridgeshire Police said Carson was driving his red Mazda 3 when it left the road and struck a tree on the A1303 near Bottisham, about seven miles east of his home in Cambridge.
No other vehicle or person was involved, a spokesman said.
Carson, an Irish citizen who was born in Kent as Michael Sean Carson, spoke of his pride in his Irish roots on his website and recalled his efforts to gain international recognition for players.
He is said to have influenced English-born players such as Sean St Ledger and Andy Townsend to play for the Republic of Ireland.
Carson joined Norwich as youth manager in 1983, working with children aged nine to 16 and bringing through the likes of Premier League stars Chris Sutton and Ruel Fox, before moving to Peterborough as an academy director 10 years later.
In 2001, he became head of youth development at Cambridge, leaving in 2006 to join Histon FC.
Carson had denied 12 charges of indecent assault and one of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity during an earlier hearing at Cambridge Crown Court.
The abuse allegedly occurred between 1978 and 2009 and involved 11 victims aged under 16.
Anyone who witnessed the collision or who may have dash-cam footage is asked to call police on 101, quoting incident 100 of January 7.