Saturday 24 August 2019

Welsh Labour minister takes own life amid sex allegations

Carl Sargeant was found dead at his home in Wales Photo: National Assembly for Wales handout via REUTERS
Carl Sargeant was found dead at his home in Wales Photo: National Assembly for Wales handout via REUTERS

Steven Swinford

A Welsh government minister has taken his own life just days after being suspended by the Labour Party in Wales over allegations of sexual misconduct.

Carl Sargeant, a married father of two and minister in the Welsh Assembly, was found dead at his home in Connah's Quay in North Wales after Labour announced the investigation on Friday.

Carwyn Jones, the Welsh first minister, said Mr Sargeant was being investigated over a "number of incidents" after women came forward with allegations.

Mr Sargeant (49) said at the time that he found the allegations "shocking and distressing" and called for an independent investigation "to allow me to clear my name".

A spokesman for North Wales Police said: "At approximately 11.30 (yesterday), North Wales Police were called to a report that the body of a man had been found at an address in Connah's Quay. North Wales Police are not treating his death as suspicious and the matter has been referred to HM Coroner."

A family statement said his relatives were "devastated beyond words" at the loss of "the glue that bound us together" while Jeremy Corbyn, the UK Labour leader, described his death as "terrible and deeply shocking news".

His family's statement said: "Carl was a much loved husband, father and friend. He wasn't simply a part of our family. He was the glue that bound us together. He was the heart of our family. We loved him so very much.

"He was the most kind and caring husband, father, son and friend. We are devastated beyond words, and we know our grief will be shared by all those who knew and loved him. We are in shock and grief."

In a statement on Friday, Mr Sargeant said: "I met with the first minister today and he informed me allegations had been made about my personal conduct, which was shocking and distressing to me.

"The details of the allegations have yet to be disclosed to me. I have written to the general secretary of Welsh Labour requesting an urgent independent investigation into these allegations in order to allow me to clear my name."

Mr Jones said on Monday that he had become "aware of a number of incidents at the beginning of last week".

After news of Mr Sargeant's death emerged, Mr Jones said: "Carl was a friend as well as a colleague and I am shocked and deeply saddened by his death.

"He made a big contribution to Welsh public life and fought tirelessly for those he represented."

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