Former Sheffield United football manager Gary Speed ‘had words’ with his wife the night before he was found hanged, a court heard.
An inquest into his death at Warrington Coroner’s Court heard the former Sheffield United player texted his wife Louise days before his death and talked about taking his life.
Mrs Speed said her husband’s job had put strain on their marriage and they’d ‘had words’ the night before he was found dead at their Cheshire home on Sunday, November 27 2011.
The court heard the couple returned home from a dinner party at a friend’s house,
Mrs Speed told the inquest her husband had talked about taking his life in a text exchange days earlier, but had ‘dismissed it’, saying he was ‘excited’ about the future with her and their two sons.
She said the text referred to their ‘ups and downs’, but went on about ‘how important the boys were’ and about ‘moving forward’.
“We walked in the house and had an exchange of words about something and nothing,” she said.
Mrs Speed said she decided to go for a drive to clear her head, but only got to the top of the road, before stopping to ring her husband’s mobile phone.
After getting no reply, she returned to the house and tried, unsuccessfully, to ring him again.
After getting some sleep in the vehicle she told the court she woke at about 6am and went to the outside bathroom.
She said she noticed some shed keys which were usually stored there were missing and went to the shed to see if her husband was there, before moving to the garage where she found him.
Mrs Speed said she woke their children to open up the house and called the emergency services.
Paramedics were sent to the scene but were unable to revive Speed.
Mrs Speed confirmed there was no note or message left by her husband.
His friend, the former England captain Alan Shearer, who was with him the day before he died, said he had become aware there were ‘issues’ between the couple.
Shearer, whose family went on holiday with the Speeds, said he told him such issues were normal in a relationship.
Dr Bob Muggleton, Sheffield United’s medical officer told the inquest he had worked with Speed until 2010 and no mental health issues were raised.
Cheshire coroner Nicholas Rheinberg confirmed the cause of death as hanging, but recorded a narrative verdict, adding Mr Speed may have died accidentally.
He said: “The evidence does not sufficiently determine whether this was intentional or accidental.”
In a statement read out after the inquest, Mr Speed’s family said the day of his death was the ‘worst day of our lives’, but his memory ‘shines brightly in our thoughts’.
Following his death, heartfelt tributes were paid to Speed at clubs all over the world including Sheffield United.
A sea of floral tributes and cuddly toys were left in his memory at Bramall Lane.