We had a row on our final night together, says Gary Speed's wife

Inquest told how former Wales manager spoke of suicide just days before he was found hanged

The former Wales manager Gary Speed had an argument with his wife in the hours before he was found hanged, an inquest into his death heard yesterday.

Louise Speed described how four days earlier the former Leeds and Newcastle United star, who had no history of depression, had raised the prospect of suicide in a text message but quickly decided he had too much to live for.

His death last November stunned professional football and raised questions about the pressures of the game. The Speeds, who had been married for 15 years and had two sons, were coping with "ups and downs" in their relationship brought on by the demands of his job as national manager, Warrington Coroner's Court was told.

However, neither saw the issues as insurmountable and there was no suggestion that their marriage was in trouble. They had spent the evening at a dinner party, where fellow guests said Mr Speed had been having fun and was pushed into a swimming pool fully clothed. The couple returned together in a taxi to their home at Huntingdon Hall near Chester at around 1am. But once there, they began arguing. Wiping away tears, Mrs Speed, 41, said: "We walked in the house and had an exchange of words about something or nothing. I can't even remember what it was."

She suggested she went for a drive, at which point her 42-year-old husband blocked the back door and said: "You are not going anywhere." She went up to a bedroom where she spent a few minutes before deciding to go out to clear her head. After a brief drive she returned home, but found she was locked out and, after failing to contact her husband on his mobile phone, decided to sleep in the car. At 7am, she returned to the property and spotted her husband's body hanging from a length of aerial cable in the garage. The inquest heard that earlier in the week Mr Speed had discussed self-harming, but concluded he should "move forward" and that his sons meant too much for him to go through with the threat.

Alan Shearer, a close friend, said Mr Speed had raised concerns over "a couple of issues" in his marriage during a holiday the two families had taken earlier in the year.

Mr Speed's mother, Carol, said her son did not enjoy the public glare and had considered turning down an MBE. She described him as a "cup half empty person, certainly not an optimist".

Looking back for clues to his possible unhappiness, she said she had seen a TV clip in which he appeared uncharacteristically unshaven. In another, she recalled: "Gary's smile didn't seem genuine. It didn't reach his eyes."

Returning a narrative verdict, Cheshire coroner Nicholas Rheinberg gave the cause of death as hanging but said "the evidence does not sufficiently determine whether this was intentional or accidental". A narrative verdict records the circumstances of a death, without attributing the cause to a named individual.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Creative Web and UI Designer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced creative web and...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£17000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity is now ...

Recruitment Genius: Account Executive - Graduate / Entry Level

£22000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital advertising infras...

Recruitment Genius: European Sales Director - Aerospace Cable & Wire

£100000 - £125000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a top tier supplier to the...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral