The mother of two girls who were allegedly sexually abused by British Airways pilot Simon Wood is seen outside the Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. Picture: Sayyid Azim

London -

A British Airways pilot suspected of sexually abusing hundreds of children killed himself to avoid facing justice, an inquest heard on Wednesday.

First Officer Simon Wood, 54, threw himself under a train just days before he was due to answer charges that he indecently assaulted an eight-year-old girl.

He was also facing accusations he used his position at BA to abuse hundreds of children in African schools and orphanages.

The airline has now been named in a lawsuit brought by 16 girls who claim that unmarried Wood raped or assaulted them during his stopovers in Kenya.

Lawyers representing the girls said they were investigating claims that Wood’s abuse began when he was in his 20s and continued for three decades.

The abuse stopped only when the £100 000-a-year pilot was charged with separate child sex offences in Britain.

Wood was arrested at Heathrow in July last year and charged with an indecent assault on an eight-year-old girl in 2000.

He was found dead after being hit by a train near Potters Bar in Hertfordshire on August 18.

Hertfordshire deputy coroner Graham Danbury recorded a verdict of suicide.