Rugby ban star took cocaine before death

TRAGIC rugby league star Terry Newton had taken cocaine and amphetamine before he hanged himself, it emerged at the inquest into his death.

Mr Newton's body was found by police in the loft of his home in Wigan in September, seven months after he was sacked by Wakefield Trinity Wildcats following a positive drugs test for a human growth hormone.

The 31-year-old father-of-two's inquest was yesterday told that toxicology reports showed he had taken the steroid nandrolone within the week of his death.

Traces of cocaine and amphetamine were discovered in his urine, along with alcohol and anti-depressants.

None of the banned drugs were a direct factor in the cause of death but all could have affected a person's mood, the inquest was told.

Recording an open verdict, coroner Jennifer Leeming said she could not be certain that the former Great Britain international had intended to take his own life.

She went on: "In those circumstances the correct conclusion for me to record in law, as to the underlying cause of death, is an open conclusion.

"I am aware that Mr Newton had indicated that he had hoped to work with the Rugby Football League to warn other sportsmen of the dangers of drugs and, in his death, it is the biggest warning to others."

A post-mortem examination concluded hanging had been the medical cause of Mr Newton's death.

There were also several recent cuts to both his wrists but they were deemed relatively superficial.

The inquest was told that Mr Newton's family had noticed a change in his behaviour as he started to take drugs other than steroids.

Giving evidence, forensic toxicologist Julie Evans said research had shown a high incidence of steroid users go on to abuse other drugs.

Mr Newton played for Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors and Bradford Bulls before joining Wakefield.

The hooker was sacked after being banned for two years by anti-doping chiefs, having tested positive for human growth hormone following a random blood test during training.

His widow attended yesterday's hearing in Bolton but was too upset to give evidence.

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