A detective who led the investigation into allegations of sexual abuse against Michael ‘Kit’ Carson has praised courage of the former Peterborough United Academy director’s victims.
Carson was due to stand trial at Peterborough Crown Court on January 7 - but he was killed in a car crash on the same morning.
Carson was charged with 12 counts of abuse against 11 young boys over a period of more than 30 years - charges he denied.
The trial was set to hear from a number of witnesses, some from as far away as New Zealand.
Today, Detective Chief Inspector Neil Sloan, from Cambridgeshire police, said: “The victims all took a brave step to come forward. They outlined what happened to them and what impact it had on them. They supported the investigation and had been patient waiting for the court case but now they will not get the closure they wanted in giving their account to the court and having their voice heard.
“This is an example of how seriously we take historic sexual abuse. It was a large investigation with nearly 200 people spoken to, 125 witness statements, covering incidents stemming from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s and involving a range of children coached by Kit Carson. Our witnesses included coaches and other in football who worked with him, and witnesses came from as far afield as New Zealand, the USA and Finland.”
Following Carson’s death, a spokesperson for the Peterborough Rape Crisis Care Group said: “It must be a very difficult time for the survivors to feel they’ve lost the chance to have their moment in court.
“Getting a historic case to trial stage can be a long process, but at least this story proves it is possible to bring a case to court no matter when it occurred.
“We hope that the fact they were believed and listened to by police, and also that it’s allowed them to discover other survivors in the same situation, will be some help to them. Peterborough Rape Crisis Care Group provides support through the court process with our ISVA services as well as therapeutic support to empower survivors towards recovery.”
The fatal crash happened at 9.45am on January 7 in Bottisham, near Cambridge. The trial was due to start at 10am.
Carson died at the scene, with no other vehicles or people involved. The section of rural single-carriageway road where the collision took place is straight and has a 60mph speed limit.
Carson had been charged with 12 counts of indecent assault and one of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. The offences were alleged to have happened between 1978 and 2009 and involve 11 victims, all boys under the age of 16. Nine of the offences were said to have taken place in the Peterborough area. Carson, who was the academy director at London Road between 1993 and 2001, denied the charges against him.
An inquest into Carson’s death was opened and adjourned yesterday.
Coroner David Heming said: “The circumstances as presently known are that the vehicle left the carriageway on to a wide grass verge and collided with a tree
“Mr Carson suffered fatal injuries.
“The cause of death provided by the post-mortem examination is a traumatic brain injury.”
“It’s clear that there are further investigations to be done by Cambridgeshire Police concerning the circumstances of the accident,” Mr Heming said.
Carson, of St Bartholomew’s Court, Riverside, Cambridge, had worked at Norwich City, Peterborough United and Cambridge United.
He was on bail at the time of his death.
The hearing was adjourned until June 18 for a full inquest.