AN INQUEST into the tragic death of a former teacher has concluded he deliberately drove into a railway bridge at high speed.

Howard Thornthwaite, 63, died of multiple injuries after his Ford Fiesta struck the bridge which crosses Peasley Cross Lane, close to Langtree Park, on October 21 last year.

Mr Thornthwaite, of Dinorben Avenue, Sutton, had told his wife Anne, who he was married to for more than 37 years, that he was going for a drive shortly before the incident occurred at around 4.15am.

The inquest, held at St Helens Town Hall, heard Mr Thornthwaite had retired from his work as a technician at St Cuthbert’s School in June, 2014, after "a disagreement with his employer”.

Details of an investigation into the fatal incident revealed Mr Thornthwaite was not wearing his seatbelt, nor did he try to brake, as his car sped, in excess of the 30mph limit, into the bridge.

The police report also stated that street lighting was adequate at the time of the collision, and there were no defects with either the road or the vehicle.

After studying CCTV footage of the incident, officers also believe the rain and strong winds were not likely to have played a part in the tragedy.

Coroner Christopher Sumner said: “It was a deliberate act – there was no attempt to brake. He went off the road at a high speed and he was not wearing a seatbelt at the time.
“I have reached the verdict that he killed himself.”

Before working at St Cuthbert’s, Mr Thornthwaite had spent 26 years as a teacher at Cowley International College. He was also a long-serving committee member at Liverpool St Helens Rugby Club.