A CORONER has ruled that a man who went missing after being involved in a head-on crash with a school bus in Culcheth committed suicide.

Shaun Kelly was reported missing after his Vauxhall Corsa hit a school bus on Holcroft Lane on November 4 – the 48-year-old’s body was found hanging in dense woodland off nearby Bent Lane more than two days later.

On Friday, Warrington Coroner’s Court heard that at around 7.05am on the day of the accident Mr Kelly was driving to work when his vehicle veered into the path of the oncoming bus, which did not have any passengers on board at the time, at a bend on the country road.

Mr Kelly appeared to be unhurt by the collision but the bus crashed through a fence and into a field – the court heard that a panel of the wooden fence impaled the driver through the abdomen, causing him serious injuries that he is unlikely to make a full recovery from.

Witnesses tried to calm Mr Kelly, a college lecturer who lived in Leigh, but he ran away from the scene.

An off-duty police officer discovered his body hanging from a tree while walking his dog along the disused railway line near Bent Lane at around 3.15pm on Friday November 6.

The court heard that Mr Kelly, who was born in Bolton, had suffered from a history of anxiety and depression, largely relating to a period in 2007 and 2008.

While he had not expressed any recent thoughts of self-harm or suicide Mr Kelly appeared to be battling anxiety again – he had ‘convinced himself’ that he had cancer because of abdominal pain and was ‘constantly worried and stressing’ about it.

A large number of Mr Kelly’s family members were present as assistant coroner for Cheshire Alan Moore recorded a verdict of suicide by hanging.

Mr Moore added that it could not be certain whether Mr Kelly had intentionally caused the crash or not.

He said: “This is a complex but very tragic story – Shaun was anxious that he might have been suffering from cancer and it was clearly troubling him.

“That was unresolved at the time of his death but there was no indication in the post-mortem that that was the case.

“On the evidence I’ve heard it is beyond reasonable doubt that Shaun intended to take his own life – we will never know why he did it.

“It is not possible to say whether the road traffic collision was deliberate on Shaun’s part, purposely intending to harm himself, or whether that incident was as a result of an error of judgement – the evidence does not answer that question.”

If you have been affect by any of the issues raised in this article call the Samaritans on 08457909090.