A TALENTED judo expert who was a contender for the Olympics hanged himself with his own black belt, an inquest heard.

Robert (Robbie) Gallagher, 23, was discovered dead in the early hours of New Year’s Day at his home on Tan Y Coed, Mold.

Mr Gallagher, a retained firefighter in Mold, had battled with depression following the breakdown of his relationship with his girlfriend.

A statement from his father, Robert Gallagher Snr, said: “We as a family are so saddened by Robbie’s untimely death and we miss him greatly.

“He was a retained firefighter and was hoping to have a future full-time in firefighting.

“He was into his judo and was a contender for the 2012 Olympic games.

“He had been a mischievous happy person and enjoyed his life. He wanted to achieve the very best.”

Mr Gallagher’s son, who took on various agency jobs, including one in Sharps in Llay, had been with girlfriend Sophie Bell-Halfpenny for four years.

The couple shared a house and had a child together.

When they split up, Mr Gallagher moved back into his family home where he began a course of anti-depressant drugs.

Miss Bell-Halfpenny said her former partner had threatened suicide on several occasions. “He once phoned me at 4am to say he had taken an overdose of sleeping tablets,” she in a statement.
“Then he came up to my house and and was waving his judo belts at me saying he was going to take his own life.”

Mr Gallagher went to the pub on New Year’s Eve to celebrate with some friends.
His father, who went to have a cigarette outside the family home shortly after midnight, did not realise his son had come home early.

“I heard a noise from the garage,” he said. He went inside and found his son.

A post-mortem examination revealed Mr Gallagher died from asphyxia caused by hanging.

Toxicology results showed he was more than three times the drink-drive limit. He did not leave a note.

Recording a verdict of suicide, North East Wales coroner John Hughes, told the family: “I want to tell you how desperately sad I was to hear of your misfortune, especially as it was someone as young as your boy.”