Carl Sargeant (pictured) was found hanged at the family home in North Wales
A colleague of a Welsh politician accused of sexual misconduct has told of her panic after he group texted ‘I love you all’ and then couldn’t be contacted, an inquest hard.
Welsh Assembly member Carl Sargeant, 49, was found hanged by his wife Bernadette at the family home in Connah’s Quay, North Wales.
The father-of-two left a note apologising to his family, adding: I’m sorry I’ve taken the easy way out, leaving you with my s**t’.
His death, on November 7, 2017, came four days after being sacked from his role as cabinet secretary for communities and children.
He was also suspended from the Labour Party over allegations of ‘unwanted attention, inappropriate touching or groping’.
His former special advisor, Sophie Howe, told the inquest that Mr Sargeant had been in a ‘terrible’ state after being fired over allegations of sexual misconduct.
Mrs Howe, who was in tears at times during her evidence, said on the day Mr Sargeant found out he had lost his cabinet role he rang her and said: ‘I’m out and it’s really bad.’
His former special advisor, Sophie Howe (pictured), said that being fired over allegations of sexual misconduct had left him in a ‘terrible’ state
When she later went to pick him up in Cardiff he looked ‘ashen’ and told her ‘I don’t know what’s going on, I haven’t been told what the allegations are’, she said.
Mrs Howe, told the court that she began to panic about Mr Sargeant when she received a group message on her phone from him that said ‘I love you all.’
She then called his landline and spoke to paramedics who were ‘working on Carl.’
The inquest heard that Mrs Howe was the last person to speak to Mr Sargeant before he died.
PC Hughes said Mrs Sargeant told police she had found a note on the door of the utility room, where Mr Sargeant was found, telling her not to go in and to call the police.
Carl Sargeant’s son Jack and his wife Bernadette are pictured arriving at today’s inquest, as is Sophie Howe (right), who served as an adviser to the politician
Another note, left next to his body, was addressed to his wife, children and family and friends, the court heard.
In it, he apologised for letting them down and asked them to forgive him.
The note said: ‘You deserve none of this adverse publicity because of my acts. I have failed you.
‘That aside, I love you more than you will ever know and I’m sorry I’ve taken the easy way out, leaving you with my s**t.’
Mr Sargeant’s former Welsh Government minister Leighton Andrews told the inquest into Mr Sargeant’s death that interviews given by First Minister Jones about the cabinet reshuffle on November 6 had affected Mr Sargeant.
He said: ‘They had a significant impact on his state of mind.
‘I was told they had fuelled his despair.’
He said he did not understand why Mr Jones had given the ‘inappropriate’ and ‘irresponsible’ TV interviews after the matter had been handed to the Labour Party for formal investigation.
At the first day of his inquest, coroner John Gittins read a statement from police constable Siwan Hughes, who was called to Mr Sargeant’s home after paramedics certified him dead at 11.30am.
The inquest heard that Mr Sargeant had first gone to his GP with symptoms of depression in 2012, following an event involving a family member, and was prescribed anti-depressants.
In July 2016 he returned to the doctor with symptoms of depression and was again given medication, which he continued to be prescribed up until his death.
Family members including his son Jack, who replaced his father as Alyn and Deeside AM, were at the hearing. Mrs Sargeant is due to give evidence later on Monday.
His family say he was not told the details of what he was accused of and was unable to properly defend himself.
It is understood details were withheld to protect the identity of the complainants involved, but Mr Sargeant’s family and solicitors say being kept in the dark caused him mental anguish.
Mr Gittins said the inquest would be a ‘full and fair examination’ of relevant matters and would not be a ‘trial by Press, politics or personality’.
He said: ‘There is no place in my courtroom for accusation or speculation, simply evidence.’
Wales’ First Minister Carwyn Jones is expected to give evidence to the inquest on Wednesday and a statement from Ian McNicol, now Lord McNicol – the then general secretary of the Labour Party, will be read.
An independent investigation by the Welsh government, ordered by the first minister, has stalled due to Mr Sargeant’s family being granted a judicial review over how it will operate.
His death, on November 7, 2017, came four days after being sacked from his role as cabinet secretary for communities and children