Inquest hears how politician accused of sexual misconduct left note of apology for his family

A Welsh politician accused of sexual misconduct left a note for his family apologising for letting them down, his inquest has heard.

Monday, 26th November 2018, 1:16 pm
Updated Monday, 26th November 2018, 2:20 pm
An inquest into the death of the Welsh politician accused of sexual misconduct has begun today.
An inquest into the death of the Welsh politician accused of sexual misconduct has begun today.

Welsh Assembly member Carl Sargeant, 49, was found hanged by his wife Bernadette at the family home in Connah's Quay, North Wales.

His death, on November 7, 2017, came four days after being sacked from his role as cabinet secretary for communities and children.

The father-of-two was also suspended from the Labour Party over allegations of "unwanted attention, inappropriate touching or groping".

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At the first day of his inquest at Ruthin County Hall on Monday, coroner for North Wales (East and Central) John Gittins read a statement from police constable Siwan Hughes, who was called to Mr Sargeant's home after paramedics certified him dead at 11.30am.

Pc Hughes said Mrs Sargeant told police she had found a note on the door of the utility room, where Mr Sargeant was found, telling her not to go in and to call the police.

Another note, left next to his body, was addressed to his wife, children and family and friends, the court heard.

In it, he apologised for letting them down and asked them to forgive him.

The note said: "You deserve none of this adverse publicity because of my acts. I have failed you.

"That aside, I love you more than you will ever know and I'm sorry I've taken the easy way out, leaving you with my shit."

Family members including his son Jack, who replaced his father as Alyn and Deeside AM, were at the hearing. Mrs Sargeant is due to give evidence later on Monday.

His family say he was not told the details of what he was accused of and was unable to properly defend himself.

It is understood details were withheld to protect the identity of the complainants involved, but Mr Sargeant's family and solicitors say being kept in the dark caused him mental anguish.

Mr Gittins said the inquest would be a "full and fair examination" of relevant matters and would not be a "trial by Press, politics or personality".

He said: "There is no place in my courtroom for accusation or speculation, simply evidence."

Wales' First Minister Carwyn Jones is expected to give evidence to the inquest on Wednesday and a statement from Ian McNicol, now Lord McNicol - the then general secretary of the Labour Party, will be read.

An independent investigation by the Welsh government, ordered by the first minister, has stalled due to Mr Sargeant's family being granted a judicial review over how it will operate.