Carl Sargeant: Inquest concludes Welsh Labour figure killed himself

Former Welsh minister Carl Sargeant killed himself just days after he was sacked over sexual harassment claims, an inquest has concluded.

The Labour politician, who was sacked as cabinet secretary for communities and children as a result of the allegations against him, was found hanged at his home in Connah's Quay on 7 November 2017.

He had lost his job four days prior over accusations that his wife said left him "shell-shocked", adding that they were never properly explained by the Labour Party.

At the conclusion of the inquest, coroner John Gittins said he was concerned not enough has been done by the Welsh government to ensure help and support is given to ministers who are removed from office.

Mr Gittins, senior coroner for North Wales, told Ruthin County Hall those who who lost their jobs were not necessarily prepared for the "significant media interest and intrusion into their private lives" that would follow.

As he recorded a verdict of suicide, he said: "The twists and turns of the journey at times along the murkiest paths into the world of politics has been a challenge.

"Anyone hoping for a glowing vindication of Carl Sargeant or a damning vilification of Carwyn Jones, or indeed vice versa, will be sorely disappointed."

Mr Jones, 52, the former first minister and Welsh Labour leader, was the man who sacked Mr Sargeant, 49, and the coroner said his mental health "deteriorated significantly" as a result.

Mr Jones had said he was not aware that Mr Sargeant suffered from depression.

Earlier in the inquest, wife Bernie Sargeant described the breakdown of the friendship between the two men, adding that they had developed a "lack of mutual respect".

She said: "I think in the end Carl felt let down by Carwyn because Carl supported Carwyn to become first minister. He felt sometimes he was blocked, not necessarily by Carwyn, but by people in Carwyn's team."

Mr Sargeant was said to have been "devastated" by claims that he had groped and touched women, and was confused by the lack of "clear definition" about what he had done.

After the inquest, his family said in a statement: "At times it seems to have been forgotten that this was an inquest into the death of a dearly beloved husband, father, son and brother. Instead it has felt more like a criminal trial.

"All too often politics have been at play with the sole aim of blackening a dead man's name to protect another. Where has been the humanity in that?"

:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK.

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