Inquest opens into the death of Carl Sargeant

Reporter:

Staff Reporter

An Assembly Member left a note on the door of the room where he was found dead asking his wife not to enter.

An inquest into the death of Carl Sargeant, 49, of Englefield Avenue, Connah’s Quay was opened at County Hall, Ruthin, this afternoon.

John Gittins, coroner for North Wales east and central, said he “will not allow” the full inquest into the death of the former AM for Alyn and Deeside to be “a trial by press, politics or personality.”

Opening the hearing, Mr Gittins said that on the morning of Tuesday November 7, Mr Sargeant's wife, Bernadette, found a note on the door of her utility room in his handwriting advising her not to go in, but to call the police.

Mrs Sargeant entered the room and found her husband on the floor of the lean to after “an apparent act of self harm.”

Family members attempted to resuscitate Mr Sargeant until paramedics arrived, who continued those efforts for “20-30 minutes”.

A post-mortem carried out by Dr Andrew Dalton, at Glan Clwyd Hospital, provided a preliminary cause of death of hanging.

Mr Gittins told the hearing that as an independent inquiry was to be held, he was not able to fix a date for the full inquest to be held as any findings from that inquiry may have a bearing on his responsibilities.

The senior coroner said his inquest would be a “full and fair examination of the matters which are relevant” but “will not consider the veracity of the allegations made against Mr Sargeant” nor would he be “looking to Cardiff and the Welsh Assembly or the Labour Party and making adjudications as to who is right or wrong and who can be trusted.”

Mr Gittins said as he would have to give consideration to reaching a conclusion of suicide, “it may well be that the events of the days preceding his death may be relevant to my inquiry” but it was “simply too soon” to say at this stage.

He added that statements would be sought from Mr Sargeant's family, First Minister Carwyn Jones “and possibly others at the Welsh Assembly” in the coming weeks but whether such evidence was relevant and if their attendance was required cannot be determined until such time that the scope of the inquest can be established, Mr Gittins said.

In consideration to the prevention of future deaths, the coroner said if in the course of the investigation he had concerns that future deaths may occur and he was of the view a person or organisation may be in a position to alleviate such risks, he is duty bound to draw those concerns by way of a report.

Mr Gittins added: “With this aspect of my role in mind I shall be examining carefully the steps taken by the Assembly to have regard to Mr Sargeant's mental welfare prior to his death.”

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