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Monday, 26 November 2018

Inquest to open over death of Welsh Assembly member accused of sexual misconduct

Written by Pat Hurst

An inquest into the death of a Welsh politician accused of sexual misconduct is due to begin on Monday.

Welsh Assembly member Carl Sargeant (pictured), 49, was found hanged by his wife Bernadette, at the family home in Connah's Quay, North Wales.

His death, on November 7, 2017 came four days after being sacked from his role as cabinet secretary for communities and children.

The father-of-two was also suspended from the Labour Party over allegations of "unwanted attention, inappropriate touching or groping".

But he was not told the details of what he was accused of and was unable to properly defend himself, his family have said.

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.

John Gittins, Senior Coroner for North Wales (East and Central), has said the inquest, scheduled to last up to five days, will examine how the Welsh Assembly acted in relation to Mr Sargeant's mental welfare before his apparent suicide.

Wales' First Minister Carwyn Jones will give evidence on Wednesday and a statement from Ian McNicol, now Lord McNicol - the then general secretary of the Labour Party, is expected to be read.

Records of Mr Sargeant's personal phone on the day of his death, and the note he left will be heard as evidence at the inquest.

Currently 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.

The inquest, at Ruthin County Hall, is set to begin later on Monday.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Family Handout / PA Wire.