Ex-teacher facing abuse charges found dead

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A former teacher at a special school, due to go on trial accused of sexually abusing five boys, has been found dead at his home in Devon, police confirmed.

David Harris, 63, former head of care at Hilltop Special School in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, was due to appear at Luton Crown Court on Tuesday.

But after he failed to attend court, a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was found dead the next day in the bedroom of his home in Plymouth.

A post-mortem examination is due to take place to discover how he died.

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall police said: "We were alerted at 14.41pm on May 4 that the male, David Harris, had failed to turn up for court.

"As a result of trying to locate Mr Harris on behalf of Hertfordshire police, we forced entry on May 5. The male was found deceased in the bedroom."

The coroner has been informed, and police are not looking for anyone else in connection with his death.

Harris was charged with 30 sexual offences against five boys between 1972 and 1990, Hertfordshire Police confirmed. The boys were aged seven and eight at the time of the alleged serious sex offences and acts of indecency.

It is believed Harris planned to plead not guilty to the charges. The boys, now in their 30s and 40s, alleged they were sexually abused by the teacher when they were pupils at the school.

The case has now been closed.