The man accused of killing controversial former Bury St Edmunds performing arts teacher Scott Rogers in the US has died, according to reports.
Mathew Hodgkinson is said by police to have shot and killed his father-in-law Rogers at their home, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, last Wednesday before turning the gun on himself.
Mr Hodgkinson survived and was taken to hospital where he remained in a critical condition. Media outlets in the US are reporting he died this afternoon.
He was a student of Rogers at the former Academy of Dancing and Performing Arts, in Fornham Road, Bury and later followed him to Baton Rouge where they worked on the Around Town TV show. US authorities have confirmed that Mr Hodgkinson had been in a sexual relationship with Rogers.
Rogers, formerly known as Richard Scott-Rogers, founded and was principal of the controversial academy, which in 1995 was likened to a ‘religious cult’ by Suffolk County Council bosses who warned parents of the ‘perceived risk’ of sending their children there.
They voiced concerns about an ‘unhealthy atmosphere at the academy’ and an environment in which some pupils moved their allegiance from their parents to Rogers.
The Bury Free Press later published the results of its own two year investigation into the academy’s affairs.
It told how Rogers took one boy - later revealed as Mathew Hodgkinson - away from his parents by constant pressure.
Other parents said Rogers wanted to ‘control’ his pupils and one former student accused him of ‘brainwashing’ them.
In 1993, Rogers was acquitted at a trial in London of committing a serious sexual offence on a 13-year-old boy.
This week, Suffolk Police said they had received a ‘handful of calls’ from people alleging they were sexually abused by Rogers.
In today’s Bury Free Press, one parent, who wished to remain anonymous, remembered Mr Hodgkinson from his time at the academy and described him as ‘such a dear, sweet boy’. They said: “My heart goes out to him.”
- See this week’s Bury Free Press newspaper for a special report on the shocking revelations which have emerged in the wake of Rogers’ death.