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Boxing promoter Frank Maloney brands inquest into Darren Sutherland death ‘witch hunt’

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Boxing manager Frank Moloney leaves Croydon Coroner's Court where an inquest is being held into the death of boxer Darren Sutherland. Photo: PA

Boxing manager Frank Moloney leaves Croydon Coroner's Court where an inquest is being held into the death of boxer Darren Sutherland. Photo: PA

Darren Sutherland, left, with boxing promoter Frank Maloney

Darren Sutherland, left, with boxing promoter Frank Maloney

Darren Sutherland

Darren Sutherland

Tony and Linda Sutherland, parents of Darren Sutherland, outside the boxer's inquest at Croydon
Coroner's Court on Monday

Tony and Linda Sutherland, parents of Darren Sutherland, outside the boxer's inquest at Croydon Coroner's Court on Monday

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Boxing manager Frank Moloney leaves Croydon Coroner's Court where an inquest is being held into the death of boxer Darren Sutherland. Photo: PA

BOXING promoter Frank Maloney, who has been criticised during an inquest into the death of one of his fighters, has described the proceedings as a "witch hunt".

Mr Maloney has been present for the last few days at the inquest on Darren Sutherland, 27, who was found hanged at his flat in Bromley, south east London, on September 14 2009.



The Irishman was said to have been scared of his manager, and worried that he would "destroy" his life if he quit boxing and his contract.



Today, Michael Topolski QC told Coroner Dr Roy Palmer that Mr Maloney had described the inquest in Croydon, south London, as a "witch hunt" where "lies" had been told.



The boxing promoter said on Twitter yesterday: "What a witch hunt going on instead of trying to find the real reason he died.



"My head is rocking after listing (sic) to the lies today."



He also posted that he had no need to "hang my head in shame".



And yesterday he wrote: "Going out with my best friends Louie and Winine going to walk for miles right now need to clear my f****** head after reading that shite."



Mr Maloney, who took Sutherland on after he won a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, also posted that others closer to him needed to assess their role in his death.



The coroner said: "No-one is on trial in a coroner's court.



"Lots of evidence has been given, some apparently critical of Mr Maloney.



"He will have every opportunity to give evidence and can counter what has been said."



Mr Maloney is due to give evidence tomorrow.



Mr Maloney found his boxer's body when he called round to see where he was.



The promoter paid the rent on the flat and let himself in with a key he had.



Detective Sergeant Lee Dunmore, of the Metropolitan Police who ran the investigation, said Mr Maloney was taken to hospital from the scene suffering from "shock or some heart condition".



Today, the inquest heard that Mr Maloney employed a private investigator who returned to the flat and took documents.



Mr Maloney had noticed there was mail for him when he entered the fighter's apartment, the inquest was told.



The officer said: "Mr Webb was a private investigator employed by Mr Maloney. Mr Webb removed documents from the flat and gave them to Mr Maloney."



The court did not hear what the documents were.



Mr Topolski, the Sutherland family barrister, asked why all appropriate documents were not seized by police when they searched the property.



Officers recovered one note, a "To Do List", which mentioned paying back £75,000 plus VAT, and another note written to Sutherland by his friend and adviser Declan Brennan saying "Frank will destroy you in the media".



But officers did not take another note, which the star's father recovered days later, saying: "Frank will destroy you and your family" and that he would "hunt you down".



The policeman said Mr Maloney gave a statement on September 21, 2009 in which it was not mentioned that he had returned to Sutherland's flat.



He said he spoke to him again on December 7 after he received a complaint from an Irish law firm when pictures of the inside of Sutherland's home appeared in the country's News of the World.



The officer said: "As a consequence of that I revisited Mr Maloney to seek clarification about what had happened.



"I was seeking to establish whether a criminal act had taken place."



He also took further statements from the private investigator and physiologist Joe Dunbar but the Crown Prosecution Service said no crime had been committed.



DS Dunmore said he stood by his decision that the death was not suspicious and he ruled out "third party" involvement in causing Sutherland's death.



Mr Topolski asked: "Would a threat to ruin someone be a cause of death potentially, do you think?



DS Dunmore answered: "It maybe an external pressure on someone why they might take their life but it's not a cause."



The barrister asked: "Did it ever occur to you that Darren felt he was being threatened?"



"No," answered the officer.



Mr Topolski went on: "I don't mean threatened physically but threatened as mentioned in these notes, "destroy you and your family", to hunt someone down and do stories about how they f***** up."



DS Dunmore said the boxer placed himself under enormous pressure and he concluded he had killed himself because of depression, loneliness living in London, concerns about leaving the sport and repaying Mr Maloney, problems with his training, an unhealed eye wound and the breakdown of the relationship with his mother.



The inquest continues.