Saturday 24 March 2018

Darren's wrists tied when body found hanging

OLYMPIC boxer Darren Sutherland was found hanged with his wrists tied together, an inquest has heard.

The bronze medalist was afraid his manager would "destroy him and his family" if he gave up the sport.

Shocking details of the Meath man's final hours revealed at the inquest show that the 27-year-old wanted to quit boxing.

His father said that the day before his death Darren was "feeling low" and "losing confidence in his boxing".

He was found hanging in his London flat in September 2009, but his family do not believe that he took his own life.


The fighter, who won a bronze for Ireland in the super-middleweight division in 2008 in Beijing, was fearful he would owe large sums of money to his manager, Frank Maloney, and his name would be blackened if he did not box, Croydon Coroner's Court was told.

An autopsy ruled he died from asphyxia as a result of suspension by a ligature.

However, the inquest heard Mr Sutherland's family requested a second post mortem after it emerged his wrists were tied together.

Professor Jack Crane, state forensic pathologist for Northern Ireland, raised concerns over possible third party involvement in the death and carried out a second autopsy. The results have yet to be heard by the inquest.

Mr Sutherland's devastated parents Anthony and Lynda said in a statement that the day before his death, his son revealed he was having doubts about his professional future.

"He said if he gave up he would have to pay Frank Maloney £75,000 [€89,000]. He said Frank Maloney would destroy him and his family, and he would never get a job with anyone else," the inquest heard.

The inquest heard he told his father: "I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't because if I do I'm going to get beaten, but if I don't Frank is going to pull me out and I'll have to pay him his money."

The inquest heard Mr Sutherland had been increasingly concerned about his training while being managed by Mr Maloney.

He felt he needed specific strengthening and conditioning coaching, but this view was not supported by his trainer Brian Lawrence.

When his body was found, a handwritten note signed by friend and advisor Declan Brennan was found nearby.

The note read: "£75,000 + VAT to Frank. Give car back. Give flat back. £100,000 [¤118,000] a year in salary lost for the next two years.

"Frank will destroy you and your family in the media.

"They will hunt you down, take photographs of you and do articles about how you f***** up. He will destroy you for the rest of your life and he'll be right, you were given a God given talent.

"You think you feel bad now you just have no idea how bad it's going to get. I will help you if you help yourself. Declan, your pal."


The inquest heard Mr Sutherland had visited his GP weeks before his death as he had been having trouble sleeping.

He was prescribed sleeping tablets and had begun seeing a counsellor, the inquest was told.

In a statement, Mrs Sutherland said her son was "anxious" but she did not believe he was depressed.

She said: "Although Darren had concerns and worries, I do not believe he was suicidal at the time of his death. It is my honest belief that he did not commit suicide."

The hearing continues.


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