A “fantastic” former Harrow school teacher was crushed to death in a bin lorry, after a night out with friends in Brighton.

Rugby fanatic Scott Williams, 35, is believed to have gone to sleep in the early hours of Sunday in a commercial bin, which was picked up by a rubbish truck hours later.

His body was found more than 24 hours later at a rubbish dump in New Haven, and a post-mortem revealed he had been crushed to death.

Tributes have been paid to Mr Williams, a well-respected math teacher who worked at Harrow High School between 2002 and 2006.

Former colleague Jacqueline Glazerman, who worked with him at the school, in Gayton Road, described him as an inspiration to children in his role as a maths and physical education teacher.

She said: "Scott was a lovely man and a fantastic teacher.

"I used to work with him and it's a real shock to hear of how he died. It really is terrible.

"He was a really nice guy and was easy to get on with and was great with the kids. He will be sadly missed."

Mr Williams was educated in New Zealand and gained a Bachelors degree in physical education from Otago University and a Diploma in Teaching at Auckland College of Education.

He previously worked as a supply teacher in London and worked as a rugby coach and PE teacher at Pakuranga College, Auckland, New Zealand, between 1998 and 2000.

When he joined Harrow High, he started coaching the rugby teams, helping to raise the profile and standard of the sport among pupils.

One of Scott's pals, who did not want to be named, said he loved a good drink.

The pal, who previously worked with Scott, said: "He was a typical rugby-playing type of bloke.

"He was great fun and loved a drink or two, but this is so so tragic I can't quite believe it.

"I just don't know what must have been going through his head to have got into a wheelie bin after a night out."

Mystery still surrounds the circumstances which led to Mr Williams' death.

He was last seen at around 1am, having traveled to Brighton from his home in Willesden to visit some friends.

He was reported missing on Monday morning, an hour after his body was found, and police are describing his death as “unexplained”.

Concerns were raised by union leaders in Brighton over cuts to services, which they say led to two near misses of people being found asleep in commercial bins.

Robert Macey, organiser for the GMB union, said: “This was obviously a tragic accident and we would wish to express our condolences both to the family of the deceased and the employees who found him.

“Since the Conservative administration began cutting the budget for the refuse service and introducing communal bins, we have been warning that that this was an accident waiting to happen.

“Whether the bins are owned by the council or private contractors, measures now need to be taken to ensure that all communal bins in the city are made safe and secured in a way that prevents people entering them and putting their lives at risk.”