An inquest into the death of Wales Manager, and former star footballer Gary Speed said that his death ‘could have been an accident’. The coroner, Nicholas Rheinberg, ruled that there was not enough evidence to rule conclusively that Speed had definitely committed suicide.
However evidence did come to light that a few days prior to his death Speed, 42, had ‘talked in terms of taking his life’ in a text message he sent to his wife.
In the inquest, the coroner heard that Speed’s widow Louise had spent the night asleep in her car, outside the 1.5m mansion near Chester, after the couple had had a trivial row. Mrs. Speed, 41, said she ‘can’t remember’ what the argument was about.
After the row, Mrs. Speed went for a drive, when she returned to the house, she realized she had locked herself out. She tried ringing her husband, but he did not answer her calls, she assumed that he had fallen asleep and spent the night in the car.
She awoke at approximately 6am and went looking for her husband; she was tearful as she described seeing his body suspended on the stairs from the window. She then woke their teenage sons and phoned 999. The operator advised her to cut the ligature and bring her husband to the ground, and paramedics were sent to the address.
Rheinberg said: “It may have been that this was some sort of dramatic gesture, not normally in Mr. Speed’s character, but nonetheless a possibility.”
The inquest heard that investigators, who went through the scene after his death, believe he was sat on the step with the ligature around his neck for some time. Rheinberg said it was possible that he might have “nodded off to sleep”.
Gary Speed and his wife had been at a party that night, and he was said to have been in good spirits before they had an argument in the taxi home. His widow also stated that they had had ‘ups and downs’ in their marriage and the stress of his job, and being away from home for long periods had put a strain on their relationship.
Speed’s death on November 27th 2011 sent shockwaves through the football world, tributes flooded in for the man who was loved and respected by many in the game.
In a narrative verdict, Coroner Rheinberg gave the cause of death as hanging, but stated that the evidence was inconclusive as to whether it was intentional or accidental.