Coroner's Court inquest

Speed sent text 'about taking life'

January 30, 2012

Former Wales football manager Gary Speed texted his wife days before his death and "talked in terms of taking his life", an inquest heard on Monday.

Gary Speed MBE, 1969-2011
GettyImagesGary Speed MBE, 1969-2011

Speed, who played for Leeds, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United, was found hanged at his Cheshire home on November 27 last year by his wife Louise.

On Monday Mrs Speed told the inquest into his death at Warrington Coroner's Court that she had had a text conversation with Speed, 42, just days before he died.

The inquest heard he had talked in terms of taking his life but that he "dismissed it", saying that he was "excited" about the future with his wife and 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.

Mrs Speed suggested she go for a drive but her husband blocked the door and told her she "wasn't going anywhere".

"I went upstairs and lay on the bed for probably about five or ten minutes," she told the coroner for Cheshire, Nicholas Rheinberg. "Then I decided to go for a drive, to clear my mind (and for) space to think."

Questioned further by Mr Rheinberg, she said she only drove to the "top of the road" before she stopped to ring her husband's mobile phone.

After getting no reply, she returned to the house and tried, unsuccessfully, to ring him again.

"I decided to keep the car running and stay there until I could get into the house," she explained.

After getting some sleep in the vehicle she told the hearing she woke up at about 6am and went to the outside bathroom.

She said she noticed some shed keys missing which were usually stored there and went to the shed to see if Gary was there, before moving to the garage.

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

She nodded as Mr Rheinberg asked: "Could you see Gary on the stairs?"

He continued: "Was it apparent that Gary was hanging?"

"Yes," Mrs Speed told him.

She said she then woke the children to open up the house and called the emergency services.

On their advice, she cut her husband to the ground as paramedics were dispatched to the scene.

The sportsman was hanging from the bannister with a piece of television aerial, the court has heard.

Mrs Speed confirmed there was no note or message left by her husband before his death.