WARRINGTON: Gary  Speed’s widow, Louise, told the  inquest into his death that his job as Wales manager had strained their marriage and they had an “exchange of words” the night before he died.

She told the hearing in Warrington she then went for a drive but could not get back into the house. After spending the night in the car she found, in the morning,  his body hanging in the garage at their home near Chester.

The coroner recorded a narrative verdict because there was not enough firm evidence as to his state of mind or intent immediately before his death.

Four days earlier Speed sent his wife a text talking “in terms of taking his life” but she said she had dismissed it because of their children. He  did not leave a note and Detective Inspector Peter Lawless said none had been found either on his computer and phone.

His friend, the former England captain Alan Shearer, who was with him the day before he was found dead, said he had become aware there were issues between the couple but had responded that  such issues were normal in a long-standing relationship. Shearer last saw him at lunchtime on the Saturday before he died, when Speed appeared on the BBC’s Football Focus programme.

He said Speed – who played for a number of Premier League clubs, including Leeds, Newcastle, Everton, and Bolton – seemed fine and was laughing and joking.

Shearer also said his friend did not seem worried about anything and told him he would call him the following Monday. He also said he seemed to be enjoying the Wales manager’s job.

The hearing was told by the Welsh national team’s GP, Dr Mark Ridgewell, that Speed showed no signs of stress and depression.

Dr Bob Muggleton, the medical officer at Sheffield United – the club Speed managed before taking on the Wales job – told the inquest in Warrington that he had worked with him until 2010 and no mental health issues were raised during that time.

Speed, a long-serving Premier League player who had two sons, was Wales’ most-capped outfield player, captaining his country 44 times and scoring seven goals. He became national manager in December 2010.