herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Why I wrote the note found near boxer's body

THIS is the man who penned the crucial note that claimed Olympic boxer Darren Sutherland would be "destroyed" if he quit the sport.

Sutherland's friend and mentor Declan Brennan broke down in tears as he revealed: "If only I could bring Darren back in the morning, I would."

And Mr Brennan today hit out at Sutherland's ex-manager Frank Maloney, adding: "I hope he can sleep at night."

The comments were made after Mr Maloney accused him of displaying "bullying tactics" at the final day of the inquest into the young boxer's death.

Speaking to the Herald, Mr Brennan said Ireland has lost "the next world champion" and that he had a "God-given talent".

Promoter

And he strongly defended the penning of the crucial note given as evidence at this week's inquest, describing the claim that the boxer would be "destroyed" by his promoter if he quit the sport as "Darren's own words".

Sutherland (27) was found hanged at his flat in Bromley, south-east London, by Mr Maloney in September 2009.

The world of Irish sport was rocked this week by the dramatic evidence given at the inquest into the death of the bronze medallist.

Mr Maloney broke down as he told the inquest that Darren had no reason to fear him. He maintained that he never put pressure on the youngster to fight - and insisted they had a good relationship.

During the inquest, a note that was found close to the boxer's body was produced.

It read that Darren would be "destroyed in the media" by Frank Maloney if he ever quit the sport.

When asked to explain the content of the notes, Mr Maloney said they illustrated Mr Brennan's "bullying tactics" and did not reflect the truth.

However, speaking to the Herald today Mr Brennan said that he penned the note in the company of Darren.

Fears

He said that Darren revealed to him the fears he had about working with Mr Maloney - which were then written down.

Mr Brennan told the Herald: "These were his concerns. Not my concerns. I didn't know some of the stuff that he felt until I went over and that's why they were wrote down and they were actually crumpled up and put in the bin then. The father found them two or three days later.... They were in the bin in the room in his flat."

He added: "The reason why we were writing everything down was because he wanted to see the negatives and the positives of going forward in that sense."

During the hearing, Mr Brennan said that the claim that Darren would be "destroyed" were his own words at the time.

Giving evidence at the final day of the hearing, Mr Maloney told the court he had been honest with Darren about the financial implications of walking out on his contract, but denied he had threatened him at any time.

Darren had spent a number of years studying at Dublin City University, where he became close with Mr Brennan.

The Monaghan man told the Herald that he travelled to England after becoming aware that "something was wrong" with his protege.

"If I could do anything to bring Darren back after what happened, I would... for the person he was, he doesn't deserve not to be alive today."

hnews@herald.ie

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