'Loved, talented' retired Northamptonshire teacher died in crash after losing control of car

Nigel Townsend died when he was flung from his car on the A428.
Nigel Townsend died when he was flung from his car on the A428.

The wife of a 'loving, caring,' retired teacher who died on a Northamptonshire road has paid tribute to her 'best friend and soul mate' at his inquest.

Nigel Townsend was killed on the A428 when he lost control of his car.

At his inquest in Northampton yesterday (December 12), the coroner heard how the 70-year-old was only meant to take a short trip from West Haddon to Crick to see a friend when the accident took place.

Mr Townsend's wife of 47 years only found out about a severe coronary heart condition Mr Townsend was struggling with after his passing.

She believes the disease contributed to the crash in June this year.

But at the inquest, assistant coroner Hassan Shah warned the public not to take risks when driving after hearing the retired teacher had been drinking before the short drive and appeared to have not been wearing a seatbelt.

In a statement read by the coroner, Mr Townsend's wife Pamela said: "How do you describe losing such a loving, caring, hard-working and talented man?

"Everyone who knew Nigel will treasure their own special memories of him."

Mr Townsend, who lived in Guilsborough, Daventry, taught hundreds of pupils in three Northamptonshire schools during his career, including the former Spencer Boys School, Millway Primary and Spratton High.

He was a well-respected singer and dramatist in his community and was a keen fisherman, cricketer and expert historian. He also lent his voice as a commenter for the blind at the County Cricket Ground. Over 450 people attended his funeral service in July.

The coroner heard Mr Townsend had been drinking before he drove to West Haddon. Although his heart condition was noted, it was not entered as part of the coroner's conclusion.

Assistant coroner Hassan Shah said: "This was an incident that happened on a well-known road. It was a short journey, in good driving conditions, well within the speed limit and didn't involve any other vehicles. And there were two factors that took what would have been a small incident into one that involved a fatality.

"Those two factors were not wearing a seatbelt and the addition of alcohol into the mix. So I say in the hope that I may prevent someone else coming to inquest court in these very sad and very tragic circumstances."