Bromley boxer Darren Sutherland’s inquest told he would be ‘destroyed’

16:28 14 March 2012

Olympic medal-winning boxer Darren Sutherland, 27, celebrating his victory over Belarus

Olympic medal-winning boxer Darren Sutherland, 27, celebrating his victory over Belarus' Siarhei Navarka in March 2009, six months before his death

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Olympic boxer Darren Sutherland who was found hanged in his Bromley home was warned he and his family “would be destroyed” by his promoter Frank Maloney if he left the sport, an inquest was told.

Darren, 27, who won a bronze medal at the Beijing Games “had been feeling low” and “was losing his confidence in boxing”, his father Anthony revealed to Croydon Coroner’s Court on Monday – the first day of the inquest due to finish today.

He was found dead by Mr Maloney in Tetty Way, Bromley, on September 14, 2009 and his promoter suffered a small heart attack upon making the discovery, which he later recovered from.

Mr Sutherland said a handwritten letter signed by family friend Declan Brennan was found near Darren’s body, warning him not to give up the sport.

It read: “£75,000 + VAT to Frank. Give car back. Give flat back. £100,000 a year in salary lost for the next two years. Frank will destroy you and your family in the media.

“They will hunt you down, take photographs of you and do articles about how you f***** up.

“He will destroy you for the rest of your life and he’ll be right, you were given a God-given talent.

“You think you feel bad now, you just have no idea how bad it’s going to get.”

Mr Maloney, who promoted former heavyweight world champion Lennox Lewis at the height of his career, was due to give evidence as the Times went to press.

An autopsy found Darren died from asphyxia as a result of suspension by a ligature. A second post-mortem examination was carried at his family’s request after it emerged his wrists were tied together when his body was found.

Prof Jack Crane, state forensic pathologist for Northern Ireland, raised concerns over possible third party involvement in the death and carried out a second autopsy. The results had not yet been revealed at the inquest.

In a statement, Darren’s mother Lynda said: “Although Darren had concerns and worries I do not believe he was suicidal at the time of his death. It is my honest belief that he did not commit suicide.”

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