Widow of Welsh politician believed him ‘100%’ over allegations

The widow of Welsh politician Carl Sargeant has told his inquest she believed him “100%” when he denied allegations he had groped and touched women.

Alyn and Deeside AM Mr Sargeant, 49, was found hanged at his home in Connah’s Quay on November 7 2017, four days after he was sacked from his job as cabinet secretary for communities and children after the “bombshell” sex claims.

Giving evidence at his inquest at Ruthin County Hall on Tuesday, Bernie Sargeant said her husband was “shell-shocked” by the allegations and agreed he was “destroyed” after losing his post and being suspended from the Labour Party.

Carl Sargeant inquest
Carl Sargeant (Family handout/PA)

Cathryn McGahey QC, representing former first minister Carwyn Jones, asked Mrs Sargeant if she thought her husband may have been shocked because some “discreditable behaviour” of his had been found out.

Mrs Sargeant said: “No. Carl and I would have been married 27 years, we had been married 25 years then.

“I asked him directly and I 100% believe what he told me.”

The court heard Mrs Sargeant found her husband on the floor in the washroom adjacent to the kitchen on the morning of November 7.

In a note placed on the door, Mr Sargeant said: “I’ve let you all down badly, you deserve none of this adverse publicity because of my acts.”

Mrs Sargeant said she believed that to refer to him taking his own life.

She told the court that on November 3 2017 Mr Sargeant had rung her from Cardiff where he had been called for a cabinet reshuffle and told her “I’ve been binned”.

She said he told her he had only been given a broad description of the allegations, and then first minister Mr Jones had said he could not give him any more information and the matter had been passed to the Labour Party.

Carl Sargeant inquest
Former first minister Carwyn Jones (Andy Kelvin/PA)

“He had no information and nothing other than just that broad spectrum of what they had said,” she told the court.

“He was desperate for information.”

Mrs Sargeant, who had children Jack and Lucy with her husband, said the allegations were particularly difficult because of his work campaigning against domestic abuse of women.

She said: “I think you could say many other things, but because it was involving people who he really wanted to help he was shell-shocked.”

She told the court she and the family had travelled down to Cardiff to see Mr Sargeant on November 3 and he appeared “ashen” and “deflated”.

She said: “It was the worst time ever of my family’s life and it still doesn’t feel real.”

Mrs Sargeant said she believed more support should have been put in place for her husband.

She said: “I never want this to happen to anybody else. My children have lost their dad, it’s 609 days today.

“Lessons have got to be learned.”

She said Mr Sargeant had been prescribed anti-depressants in 2012 and 2014 following an incident referred to in court as a “life event” but had been “in a better place” until the week before his death.

The inquest into Mr Sargeant’s death was adjourned after five days in November last year but resumed on Monday, when former the first minister was recalled to give evidence.

Mr Jones, who stepped down as Labour leader in December, denied that he had lied during his previous evidence about the care provided to Mr Sargeant after he lost his cabinet role.

The hearing was adjourned until Wednesday, when Mr Sargeant’s son Jack is expected to give evidence.

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