'Lessons must be learned' over Carl Sargeant's death

9 July 2019, 18:24 | Updated: 9 July 2019, 18:26

Carl Sargeant AM

The wife of a former assembly member has told an inquest into his death that lessons have to be learned.

Carl Sargeant was found hanged at his home in Connah's Quay in November 2017 - four days after he was sacked over allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women.

His widow Bernie said it shouldn't have happened to their family - and said Carl should've been given more support from the Welsh Government following his sacking.

Giving evidence at his inquest at Ruthin County Hall on Tuesday, Bernie Sargeant said her husband had phoned her from Cardiff after being called down for the cabinet reshuffle on November 3.

She said: "I think Carl's words at first were 'I've been binned'.

"I said 'Well, that's OK, love, it's fine'.

"He said something about allegations and I said 'What do you mean?' He said 'I don't know, I have got no idea'."

She said that, after he was sacked, he told her he had only been given a broad description of the allegations and First Minister Carwyn Jones had said he could not give him any more information and the matter had been passed to the Labour Party.

She said: "He was shocked, you could feel this has come as a total shock to him."

Mrs Sargeant said her husband was "desperate for information" and told her he was going to seek legal advice.

She added: "He's been sacked, then there had been that (the allegations) as well, but no support was offered to him, so it was like 'What do I do?'"

Mrs Sargeant said the allegations were particularly difficult for her husband because of his work campaigning against domestic abuse of women.

She said: "I think you could say many other things, but because it was involving people who he really wanted to help he was shell-shocked."

Mrs Sargeant said she and the family travelled down to Cardiff to be with Mr Sargeant on November 3 and he appeared "ashen" and "deflated".

She told the court: "It was the worst time ever of my family's life and it still doesn't feel real."

The couple travelled home to Connah's Quay the following Monday and, the court heard, the next morning Mrs Sargeant found her husband on the floor in the washroom adjacent to the kitchen.

In a note placed on the door, Mr Sargeant said: "I've let you all down badly, you deserve none of this adverse publicity because of my acts."

Mrs Sargeant said she believed support should be put in place for those against whom allegations are made.

She said: "I never want this to happen to anybody else. My children have lost their dad, it's 609 days today.

Cathryn McGahey QC, representing former first minister Carwyn Jones, asked Mrs Sargeant if she thought her husband may have been shocked because some "discreditable behaviour" of his had been found out.

Mrs Sargeant said: "No. Carl and I would have been married 27 years, we had been married 25 years then.

"I asked him directly and I 100% believe what he told me."

Mrs Sargeant said she believed that to refer to him taking his own life.

Carl Sargeant's son Jack - who took over as AM for Alyn and Deeside following his father's death - is expected to give evidence at the inquest tomorrow.

A conclusion is expected later this week.