Open verdict in Newton inquest

Drugs and steroids may have impaired the judgment of rugby league star Terry Newton when he hanged himself, an inquest heard today.

A coroner ruled she could not be certain the ex-Great Britain international was intent on suicide as she recorded an open verdict.

The hearing was told that traces of steroids and drugs were found in his system following his death on September 26.

He was discovered by police in the loft of his home in Orrell, Wigan, after his wife Stacey had told a friend she was concerned for his safety.

He left notes around the house expressing a desire to end his life.

Newton, 31, had his contract terminated by Wakefield in February after being suspended for two years for a positive drug test for human growth hormone.

Toxicology reports showed he had a mixture of anti-depressants and drugs.

None of the banned drugs were a direct factor in the cause of death but all could have lowered a person's mood, the inquest was told.

In reaching her verdict, Wigan Coroner Jennifer Leeming said: "I cannot be sure beyond all reasonable doubt that at the time Mr Newton did that act that he had the capacity at the relevant time to form an appropriate intention to end his own life.

"In those circumstances the correct conclusion for me to record in law as to the underlying cause of death is an open conclusion.

"I am aware that Mr Newton had indicated that he had hoped to work with the Rugby Football League to warn other sportsmen of the dangers of drugs and in his death, it is the biggest warning to others.

"His loss is a tragedy to his family and to the community, particularly here in Wigan."

The father of two young girls played as a hooker for his hometown club Wigan, as well as Leeds and Bradford. Following his ban from the sport he became a pub licensee.

His wife, and close family members, attended the hearing at Bolton Coroner's Court but she was too upset to give evidence as her husband's personal details were confirmed by the investigating police officer in the case.

A post-mortem examination concluded hanging was the medical cause of death.

Giving evidence, forensic toxicologist Julie Evans said long-term use of certain steroids could change the way the brain deals with moods, with common side-effects being paranoid jealousy, irritability, delusions and impaired judgment.

The inquest was told his family had noticed a change in Newton's behaviour as he started to use drugs other than steroids.

Ms Evans added that research had shown a high incidence of steroid users going on to abuse other drugs.

Ms Evans said: "We cannot say exactly what his state of mind was but there are a number of drugs on board that could affect the state of mind."

She agreed there was a doubt about his ability and capacity to form the intention to kill himself at the time.

The coroner said: "We have a picture where steroid abuse may well have led on to behavioural changes. We can say that is virtually certain.

"Subsequently they have rendered Mr Newton, on the balance of probabilities, unable to form an appropriate judgment as to the nature and quality of his actions."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own