A primary school teacher from Shropshire charged with a string of sexual offences against children died in a car crash hours before his trial was due to start, it has been disclosed.

Robert Stringer, 57, was killed when his Peugeot 407 hit a bridge parapet on the westbound A41 near Bourne End in Hertfordshire late on Sunday night.

His trial was due to open at Isleworth Crown Court in west London on Monday morning.

Stringer, of Redstone Drive in Bridgnorth, was charged with two counts of rape of a child under 13; one count of rape of a child under 14; two counts of indecent assault; seven counts of sexual assault of a child under 13; three counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity; five counts of assault of a child under 13 by penetration; two counts of attempted rape and one count of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, a court official said.

The alleged offences against four female victims took place between 1999 and 2009, the Metropolitan Police said.

Stringer died at the scene of the crash on Sunday.

An inquest into his death was opened and adjourned at Hatfield Coroner's Court, Herts, on Tuesday. A hearing is due to take place at Isleworth Crown Court on Friday in which his death is expected to be formally confirmed.

A spokesman for Islington Council in north London said: "The council is aware that a former employee at one of our schools was charged with a number of serious offences. None of the charges related to any Islington school."

The head teacher of the north London primary school where Stringer previously taught wrote a letter to parents informing them of his death.

The letter said: "In May last year the executive head teacher and chair of governors wrote to inform you that a former...teacher, Robert Stringer, had been arrested and charged with a number of very serious offences.

"These offences did not take place in Islington and I am writing only to bring you up to date with the latest developments. ...Robert Stringer was employed...as an after-school drama club teacher from September 2008 and then as Year 6 teacher.

"On January 16, 2009, the school terminated the contract of Mr Stringer. This was as a consequence of information coming to light about his previous employment. Mr Stringer's trial was due to start on March 1. However, yesterday the Metropolitan Police informed us that Mr Stringer was killed in a car accident on Sunday..."