herald

Thursday 23 November 2017

'Gary spoke of taking his own life but his family was so important to him'

FORMER Wales football manager Gary Speed was found hanged in his home by his wife just hours after they had rowed, his inquest heard.

Mr Speed and his wife Louise had been going through "ups and downs" but were "working through" their problems, she told the hearing at Warrington Coroners Court in England.

The couple, who married in 1996, were arguing against a background of "stresses" connected to the 42-year-old's job managing the Welsh national team, Cheshire Coroner Nicholas Rheinberg was told.

They "had words" in the hours before he was found dead at 7am on Sunday, November 27, last year, after returning home from a dinner party at a friend's house.

Mrs Speed told the hearing: "We walked in the house and we had an exchange of words about something and nothing."

After being locked out of the house and spending the night in her car, Mrs Speed found her husband dead in the garage of their home in Huntington, Cheshire.

Tears

Blinking away tears she said: "I went to the window and there I saw him."

She said she then woke their two boys, who had been sleeping upstairs, to let her in the house and called the emergency services.

Mrs Speed said her husband had talked of taking his life in a text exchange days about five days earlier.

She said: "He talked in terms about taking his own life and then he moved on and talked about moving forward and how important the boys were to him.

"It was in the context of the ups and downs of our marriage. The texts went on about our future together and how excited he was about our journey together."

Asked if the Wales job was forcing him to spend more time away from his family, Mrs Speed said: "I think he was spending more hours there than he thought he would do initially."

Mr Rheinberg then asked if it was difficult for both of them "spending long periods apart?"

Mrs Speed responded: "Yes."

Stress

Mr Rheinberg asked if this had "put some degree of stress" on their relationship.

She responded: "I would say so, yes."

Also giving evidence was former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer, a close friend of Speed's, whose statement was read to the court by the coroner.

Recording a narrative verdict, Mr Rheinberg gave the cause of death as hanging but said "the evidence does not sufficiently determine whether this was intentional or accidental".

The inquest heard that investigators believed Mr Speed had been sitting in his garage.

Mr Rheinberg said: "It seems likely that Mr Speed was sitting for some time with a ligature around his neck. It may have been that this was some sort of dramatic gesture, not normally in Mr Speed's character, but nonetheless, a possibility."

Mr Rheinberg said it was a "possibility" he was sat there for some time and he "nodded off to sleep" with the ligature still around his neck.

hnews@herald.ie

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