(Title Image: BBC Wales)
The Coroner’s inquest in the death of Carl Sargeant – on November 7th 2017 – concluded this afternoon, with a formal verdict of suicide and a medical cause of death by hanging. Mr Sargeant was also prescribed medication for depression at the time of his death following an undisclosed “major life event”.
The Coroner, John Gittins, concluded that the former First Minister, Carwyn Jones AM (Lab, Bridgend), provided contradictory evidence over a pastoral role supposedly given to Ann Jones AM (Lab, Vale of Clwyd). Mr Jones’ evidence was only corrected after Ann Jones was called to give evidence.
Earlier this week, Carwyn Jones was directly accused of lying under oath by the Sargeant family’s barrister; he accepted there had been “misunderstandings”.
Nobody from the then First Minister’s office contacted Carl Sargeant immediately following his sacking, the Coroner also concluded, while he heard evidence that there was more that could’ve been done to support Mr Sargeant through the process.
The Coroner rejected submissions about the behaviour of Carl Sargeant at social events as “rumour” and “opportunistic”, as well as rejecting an application from the press for text messages between two senior Flintshire Labour figures (Aaron Shotton and Bernie Attridge) to be published.
In what’s likely to be a humiliation for the Welsh Government and civil service, a “prevention of future deaths” report was issued (pdf) following evidence over the support (or lack of) offered to ministers when dismissed from office.