Friday 28 July 2017

Gary Speed inquest: We rowed before his death, wife Louise tells court

Gary Speed and his wife Louise
Gary Speed and his wife Louise

Andy Bloxham

GARY Speed had rowed with his wife Louise before he was found hanged, an inquest heard today.

Mrs Speed told the inquest in Warrington that they had an "exchange of words" the night before he died. Days before he had sent her text in which he talked about taking his own life.

She said his job as the football manager of Wales put a strain on their marriage.

Mrs Speed told Warrington Coroner's Court that she went for a drive after a falling-out on November 26 but when she returned at about 1.30am the following day, she could not get back into the house.

Mr Speed's widow then spent the night in the car and, the following morning, found him hanged in the garage at their home in Huntington, near Chester, in November.

Mrs Speed said he did not leave a note.

Speed, a father of two who played for Sheffield United, Everton, Newcastle, Leeds and Bolton, "talked in terms of taking his life" four days before his death, the inquest was told.

His widow said he had talked in terms of taking his life but that he "dismissed it", saying that he was "excited" about the future with her and their two sons.

Mrs Speed said the text referred to their "ups and downs" but went on about "how important the boys were" and about "moving forward".

The inquest heard that the couple "had words" on the night before he was found dead after they had been to a dinner party at a friend's house.

"We walked in the house and we had an exchange of words about something and nothing," Mrs Speed said.

Richard Bevan, the League Managers' Association chief executive, is expected to make a statement on behalf of the family after the hearing.

Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of the 42-year-old.

A previous hearing saw a pathologist give a provisional cause of death as hanging.

Following his death, tributes poured in from around the world for Speed, who appeared on BBC1's Football Focus programme the day before he died.

His death led many in football to speculate as to whether depression had played a part and there was much discussion of how the problem can be better identified and treated among professional sports players.

On the day of his death, a minute's silence at the start of the lunchtime match broke into spontaneous applause which ran around the stadium.

It was the first of many tributes paid to the popular Welshman, including a shrine outside Leeds United's Elland Road stadium, where even shirts from the club's fierce rivals Manchester United were laid in his honour.

A public memorial service to celebrate his life is planned to take place later this year.

The Football Association of Wales has also said that the national team's game against Costa Rica on February 29 will be dedicated to their former manager.

The FAW appointed Chris Coleman as the new manager of Wales earlier this month after what they admitted had been "a very difficult period" following the death.

The coroner said there was no evidence to suggest that Mr Speed intended to take his own life.

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

Telegraph.co.uk

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