A senior teacher at a prep school once attended by Prince Charles took his own life after being accused of a ‘serious sexual offense’ at a former school, an inquest heard.
On the day of his death, ‘devastated’ Mr. Cageao had been interviewed by police about the allegation which is said to have taken place 12 years previously.
The head of English at the £30,000 a year Cheam School – where the Prince of Wales was a pupil for five years from the age of nine – hanged himself in a forest near his home in Newbury, Berkshire.
Mr Cageao was head of English at Cheam School, pictured, where the Prince of Wales attended in the late 1950s. Cageao, 47, took his own life after he was questioned by police concerning an allegation of a ‘serious sexual nature’ while teaching at a school in Devon between 2007 and 2008
Prince Charles, center, attended Cheam School, as did his father the Duke of Edinburgh, who left
The 47-year-old had said in a suicide note that the ‘future looked bleak ‘ and there was a ‘great chance’ he would end up in prison following the accusation, a coroner was told.
The married father of two had started at Cheam – where the late Duke of Edinburgh had also been sent – in September 2018, where he was ‘popular’, according to former headmaster Mr. Harris.
However, the hearing in Winchester, Hampshire, was told that an allegation was made in 2020 to Devon and Cornwall police about him from when he was a ‘teacher at a school in Devon’ sometime between 2007 and 2008.
Neither the name of the school nor the nature of the alleged offense was disclosed at the hearing.
The inquest was told Mr. Cageao was suspended by Mr. Harris on October 8 while matters were investigated and just over a week later on October 17, he first attempted suicide.
His widow told the hearing after this he was ‘struggling badly’ but he had told family and friends that he ‘would not take that action again’.
Mrs. Cageao said: ‘From the day he found out there was an allegation, he was immediately devastated, immediately emotionally affected in a very bad way. ‘I think that continued up until his death. During that period, he had times when he was doing a lot better and when he was not doing well.
‘He was affected in a negative way and was increasingly worried about what the consequences would be for him and on us as a family.’
Prince Charles, pictured, attended the school for five years from the age of nine
He was later dismissed from his role at the Hampshire school in February 2021.
On June 4, the inquest heard a police officer had interviewed him. In a statement read to the court, she said she was ‘worried’ about him but he assured her that he was ‘ok’. He told her he would call his wife and listen to a podcast on his way to his home from Exeter to Newbury.
After the interview, the court heard he spoke to Mrs. Cageao at 4:30 pm sounding ‘subdued’. She said: ‘He was telling me that there was not really anything further and that they asked him the same questions that he had been asked before.
‘He was telling me that it was all over but his tone was not consistent with what he was telling me.’ Mr. Cageo – originally from New York – later texted his wife at 9:30 pm to say ‘I love you to the end of numbers’. He was reported missing and was found hanged the following day in a forest near his home.
The toxicology report found the teacher – who had previously taught at Millfield Prep school based in Glastonbury, Somerset – was almost three times over the drink-drive limit at the time of his death.
Extracts of the letter were read by Hampshire Area Coroner Jason Pegg: ‘The future looks bleak. There is a great chance I will be sent to prison. ‘I am sorry for leaving you in a poor financial position.’
Mr. Pegg concluded: ‘I have read evidence that shows Mr. Cageao was someone who was a popular member of the teaching staff at a local school. ‘He had been a teacher for a number of years. It was an allegation – it is not for me to determine. It was made during one of his previous employments at a school in Devon.
‘He was accused of committing a serious sexual offense that would have been in 2008. ‘In 2020, those investigations were taking place and the school where he was teaching were made aware of the allegations.
‘As a consequence of that, he was suspended and dismissed. ‘He was someone who had, at times, low mood and stress associated with his work. ‘On June 4… He sent a text message at 9:30 pm to his wife. He stated that he loved his wife “to the end of numbers”.
‘It seems to me that having sent that text message, he had purchased a bottle of whiskey it seems from Sainsbury’s and it would seem he had made his way to the forest.
‘He took his own life… He talked about the future looking bleak and said to tell the children that he loves them.’ Mr. Pegg offered his condolences to Mr. Cageao’s wife and family. He recorded suicide as the cause of death.
Mr. Cageao’s brother Nicholas, who is a musician based in the USA, set up a Go Fund Me and has so far $27,216 has been raised to help his wife and two children.