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."

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

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
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test