THE wife of a former Welsh Government minister said lessons need to be learnt over providing support, as the day marks over 600 days since the death of her husband.

The inquest into the death of Carl Sargeant, former AM for Alyn and Deeside, resumed on Tuesday.

Giving evidence at County Hall, Ruthin, Mr Sargeant's widow Bernadette said her husband had been ‘shell-shocked’ over hearing about allegations made against him but no ‘clear definition’ was given as to what he had done and no support was given to him following his dismissal from cabinet.

She said: “He was devastated with it involving women and what was said. Many of his legislation's were always to do with women.

“You could say many other things, but to me, it was involving people he really wanted to help, he was shell-shocked.”

The Leader:

Carl Sargeant

Mrs Sargeant said when she met her husband around the age of 18, there was a ‘big connection’ and he worked hard for his family, adding: “He's always been very much a people person, definitely very driven and focused. Whatever job he did he loved and did to the best of his ability.

“A big skill not many politicians have, he could connect with anybody whatever walk of life. He was a very gentle soul and could make you feel at ease.”

The hearing was told how Mr Sargeant casually put his name forward as an Assembly Member not long after he had been elected as a councillor.

Mr Sargeant had been called about the Welsh Government reshuffle on November 2, which was ‘unusual’ shortly after they had returned from New York and he called his wife on November 3 around dinner time, from Cardiff.

He told her about the allegations made against him and they discussed seeking out legal advice.

Mrs Sargeant said due to concern, as a family, she and their children went to Cardiff around 6pm the following day, adding: “We felt it was right thing to do because of his demeanour on the phone I just wanted to see my husband to make sure he was okay and the kids wanted to see their dad.

“I can remember looking at him even though he was a big man, he seemed small. He was deflated.”

Mrs Sargeant said her husband had been ‘destroyed’ by the news.

The hearing also heard that the anonymous letter sent to Mrs Sargeant saying he was unfit to be around women, she believed her husband when he strongly denied the accusations.

Over the course of the weekend, the hearing heard how Mr Sargeant spent a lot of time in bed in his flat in Cardiff and received many supportive messages.

Mr and Mrs Sargeant returned home on Monday, November 6, where they saw that Carwyn Jones, former First Minister, had used the term ‘incidents’ rather than ‘allegations’.

On Tuesday, November 7 – four days after his dismissal – Mrs Sargeant searched the house for her husband shortly after waking up and found a note on the door leading to their utility room, instructing her to call the police.

Mrs Sargeant said: “It was horrible. I screamed for Lucy. I can't even describe how I felt. I don't think anybody expects that.”

Mrs Sargeant says she read the message, on the back of the note, as an apology from him for letting them down because Mr Sargeant did not want his family to be affected.

She added: “I felt it could have impacted on our lives, he never wanted the press to be involved.

“It makes me sad he felt that he had let us down. We were very proud of everything Carl achieved but he never changed who he was as a person.

“I still believe he hasn't done anything. It’s 609 days today my children lost their dad.

“Lessons have got to be learnt. Even in a job like that surely when it's a high profile.

“I don't want it to happen to anyone again, it shouldn't have happened to us. I believe we should have had support.”

Mrs Sargeant said their family were supportive of Mr Sargeant during his life.

She said: “There was no-one more proud of him than us as a family. People forget that he was a politician, but he was a dad.

“The most beautiful thing he has given me is Lucy and Jack.

“We as a family didn't realise how many lives he had touched, that will mean a lot to us.

“I would like to say a special thank you to the love and support from the community.

“He was a man of many talents.”

Cathryn McGahey QC for the First Minister’s office asked Mrs Sargeant if she was aware of any incidents involving other women and ‘silly behaviour’, but Mrs Sargeant said silly was the wrong word, Mr Sargeant was ‘fun’.

Mrs Sargeant said she ‘trusted her husband completely’ adding: “I asked him, and he told me no. I believed him, and I still believe him.

“There was no support other than family and friends.”

The inquest will resume on Wednesday.