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Carl Sargeant accused of 'inappropriate touching or groping but wasn't told details despite warnings about mental welfare' his family claim

Mirror logo Mirror 08/11/2017 Martin Shipton

The family of former Welsh Assembly member Carl Sargeant have released correspondence indicating he was facing allegations of "unwanted attention, inappropriate touching or groping".

Mr Sargeant's family say he had not been informed of the detail of allegations before his death, adding that distress of being unable to defend himself properly meant he was not afforded "common courtesy, decency or natural justice".

The Labour AM is understood to have taken his own life four days after being sacked from his role as communities and children secretary in the Welsh Government.

His family said they decided to release the legal letters today due to Labour's "continued unwillingness to clarify the nature of the allegations made against Carl."

Their statement said: "The family wish the release into the public domain, correspondence between Carl's solicitors and the Labour Party on Monday of this week.

"Up to the point of his tragic death on Tuesday morning Carl was not informed of any of the detail of the allegations against him, despite requests and warnings regarding his mental welfare.

"The correspondence also discloses the solicitor's concern that media appearances by the First Minister on Monday were prejudicing the inquiry.

"The family wish to disclose the fact that Carl maintained his innocence and he categorically denied any wrongdoing.

"The distress of not being able to defend himself properly against these unspecified allegations meant he was not afforded common courtesy, decency or natural justice."

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Suspended Welsh Labour minister Carl Sargeant found dead after 'personal misconduct claims' was 'thrown to the wolves'

In one of the released letters, Mr Sargeant's solicitors Bowden Jones said his client 'categorically denied' the allegations against him.

Writing to the Labour Party head office on November 6, Huw Bowden said: "We would make it clear at the outset that our client categorically denies any allegation that he has acted in a manner that is either prejudicial or grossly detrimental to the party.

"We are led to believe the allegations concerns conduct that you described as our client having acted towards others in such a way as alleged to be 'unwanted attention, inappropriate touching and groping'.

"We make it clear that any such allegations are categorically denied."

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It comes as Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones faces questions about his role dealing with the claims against Mr Sargeant.

A former Commissioner for Standards in Public Life said Mr Sargeant should have been told what the allegations were.

Nigel Evans, the Swansea-born Tory backbencher who was cleared of sex assault in 2014, said party leaders had to remember they had a duty of care to politicians facing allegations.

The MP said: “There has to be anonymity for anybody facing sexual abuse or assault allegations as well as the victim.

“How many more suicides do there have to be before the Home Office acts on this? Carl was still innocent!”

In a statement before his death, Mr Sargeant said he had written to Welsh Labour requesting an urgent investigation so his name could be cleared and saying the details of the allegations had not been disclosed to him.

In a television interview two days ago, the day before the death of the ex-cabinet secretary, Carwyn Jones insisted that the first time he heard of the allegations was last week.

He was asked by ITV Cymru Wales' political editor Adrian Masters whether he had heard any hint of the allegations before the beginning of the week.

Mr Jones replied: "No, they were drawn to my attention at the beginning of the week".

Other Labour AMs have expressed concern about the way Mr Sargeant was removed from the Welsh Government job last Friday.

It is understood that Mr Jones found out about the allegations early last week.

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One, who did not wish to be identified, told WalesOnline on Monday before Mr Sargeant’s death : “It seems wrong that a special adviser was asked to carry out an initial inquiry. It should have been handed straight to the Civil Service.”

North Wales Police was called to his home in Connah’s Quay, Flintshire, at 11.30am on Tuesday.

His death is not being treated as suspicious.

Mr Sargeant lived in Connah’s Quay for most of his life and was married to Bernie, 48. They had two children, Lucy, 23, and Jack, 25.

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