An ‘open’ verdict was returned at Croydon Coroners Court on Thursday following the inquest into the death of Irish Olympic bronze medallist Darren Sutherland, who was found dead at a flat in Bromley, Greater London in Sept. 2009
The original post-mortem investigation confirmed he died as a result of asphyxiation, as did a later one carried out at the request of the boxer’s family. Dr Palmer recorded the cause of death as ‘hanging’ before reaching an ‘open’ verdict.
He could not return a verdict of suicide, he declared, adding:
“A coroner in contemplating such a verdict has to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt not only that the individual did an act unaided but also must be sure that he fully intended that it should end his life.
“Here I am persuaded that there is sufficient doubt to make me hesitate to return a verdict of suicide.
Dr Palmer said he was ‘minded’ to write to the British Board of Boxing Control to establish whether changes could be made to ease the transition from amateur to professional boxing.
Later in a statement read by family’s solicitor James Evans, the Sutherland family also called for changes to be made.
“If anything is to be learned from the tragedy of Darren’s death, it should be that the support mechanisms that exist for amateur boxers should also be there for them when they begin their lonely path on the journey to professional life.
“My clients hope that in this Olympic year, and especially being this year held in London, that all young sports men and women who make the transition from amateur to professional status ensure that they surround themselves with those who they can trust and rely on.
“The Sutherland family will do all they can to come to terms with the way and circumstances surrounding Darren’s tragic and untimely death. They will hold dear to them the memory of Darren, their beloved son, brother friend and confidant.”
During yesterday’s proceedings Manager and Promoter, Frank Maloney broke down in tears and during his evidence he addressed Tony and Linda Sutherland, Darren’s parents
and said he was “very sorry” for what happened to Darren . Tony Sutherland replied: “It is a little late now.”
Mr Maloney said he would like to sit down and discussion ‘issues’ with the Sutherlands an offer dismissed by Tony Sutherland as “too little, too late”.
This morning British media reports suggest that Maloney is planning to quit the boxing scene once existing contracts had been fulfilled.