Gary Speed: inquest leaves questions unanswered
GARY Speed is dead. And the tabloids pile in on Louise Speed, the widow and mother to his two young sons.
The inquest into the death of the man who played football for Leeds, Newcastle, Everton, Bolton and Sheffield United found that he died by hanging. Why did he place a noose about his neck? We don’t know. The therapy industries spoke long and loud about how Speed was a depressive, making him the leader of a Suicide FC. The PFA issued a glamorous pamphlet reminding young footballers of famous faces who had suffered from mental illness. This was death by football. The private man would be defined by his job held in the public eye even after his death.
It’s unlikely we ever will know why Gary Speed died. We don’t even know if he killed himself – the coroner ruled an open narrative verdict, meaning Gary Speed could have died in an accident. Coronoer Rheinberg says it may have been a “dramatic gesture” gone wrong. The coroner stuck to the facts.
Suicide or not, the death of Gary Speed is not without pain, not least of all for Speed’s loved ones left behind. Chief mourner is Louise Speed. Today, she is all over the front pages:
The Sun: “OUR ROW ON NIGHT GARY DIED – Wife’s night in car; He’d sent suicide text”
Louise spent part of the night in her car – that part after the couple had returned home late from a party. The “suicide text” was not Speed’s suicide note, rather a text in which the Wales manger mentioned the possibility of ending it all. He discounted the thought in the same text.
The Daily Mail: “The Agony of Gary speeds’ Widow” – We argued. I spent the night in the car. Next morning I saw his body hanging in the garage.”
The Daily Mirror: “TRAGIC Speed’s Widow – Gary and I had words – I drove off and slept in my car”
The Daily Star: “Widow Sobs: Just a row about something or nothing”
Daily Express: “Gary Speed rowed with wife night he died”
What of the facts?
On page 5 of the Mail we learn that Gary Speed sent his wife a “text threatening suicide..four” days before he died.
The Daily Mirror says the text was “chilling“.
The Daily Mail produces: “TOXIC AND UNTRUE RUMOURS WHICH SPREAD ACROSS THE WEB”
Toxic. Untrue. Do they bare repeating? No. Not here. But in the Mail, they are touched upon.
Worthy of note is Alan Shearer’s statement. He was Speed’s friend:
“Gary said there were a couple of issues between him and Louise. I said that is usual in a relationship that longstanding. He said: “I’m going to give it a go and stick in there”. ‘Louise seemed relaxed and it seemed to me it was just being worked through.”
The Wales manager’s agent and best man Hayden Evans had said soon after Speed’s death:
“They were happily married and anyone who knows them will tell you that. This is why it is a mystery. We genuinely at the moment have no clue whatsoever what has caused it and I have been with the family all day. Everybody is asking the same question and no one has an answer. We are all in shock.”
Is there a story in the between the words? The tabloids will want to know why the couple married. Do you want to know? Do you miss the News of the World, which might have dug into Speed’s private life? Do the rest of the press miss it, the paper that can accuse of being in the gutter (and it was) and then quote from?
Was The Times right to say that Mr Speed “had been smeared, not by the Press but in its absence“.
In Untold Story, we read:
“Gary Speed’s death raises matters of public interest that need to be reported…It is critical, too, that we do not live in a society in which rumour takes the place of reporting, and misinformation triumphs over truth.”
So. Do you want to know why they rowed? Is this the end of The Gary Speed story or just the beginning of a new chapter..?