Sports

Peter Whittingham inquest hears Cardiff legend died after tragic pub accident

An inquest heard former Cardiff City footballer Peter Whittingham died in a tragic accident after falling on some stairs leading to a beer garden.

Whittingham, an ex-England Under-21 international who started his career with Aston Villa, sustained a head injury in a fall at a pub in Barry on March 7, 2020, where he had watched an England vs Wales rugby match with friends.

Nicholas Davison, a friend of Whittingham and his brother-in-law Robert Williams, said the group were in a round of drinks and drank “between six and 10 pints” and had a “round of shots” at The Park pub.

Mr Davison said: “All of us were pretty drunk at that point.”

Ryan Taylor, who was out drinking with Mr Williams and Mr Whittingham at the time, said Whittingham fell in the corridor leading to the beer garden.

Peter Whittingham is regarded as a Cardiff city legend after starring for the Welsh club

He said: “I don’t know if there was some sort of horse play but the next thing I remember was that he fell but I don’t know how he got there or how he had fallen. I just know he had hit his head on the small step on the stairs.

“I was the first person there and offered him my hand thinking he would just take it and he would get up on his feet.

“When I looked more closely I could see he was not moving and something was wrong.”

The inquest also heard Whittingham had been having “a play fight” with his brother-in-law Robert Williams before the fall.

Mr Williams said: “I have no idea what happened to Peter. I don’t even remember much of the following day.”

Whittingham in action for Cardiff during the 2012 Carling Cup

Police officer DC Steve Jenkins described seeing “light-hearted play fighting” which “evidently involves no malice whatsoever and they are all smiling throughout” after reviewing CCTV footage of the incident at the Park Hotel.

He was taken to Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales and placed on life support but later died.

The inquest into his death held at Pontypridd heard that Whittingham underwent an emergency operation to relieve pressure on his brain and was later sent to an intensive care unit.

He had been off sedative drugs for a number of days by March 17 but “neurological recovery remained poor” and he later died at 1.51pm on March 18.

A medical cause of death was proposed as “subdural hematoma operated”.

The midfielder started his career at Aston Villa

Reaching a verdict of accidental death, Coroner Graeme Hughes said: “On March 7, 2020, he attended a pub in Barry with friends and relatives.

“Over the course of the afternoon/evening he has consumed a quantity of alcohol that has likely impacted his demeanour and steadiness.

“Some time after 9.30pm he was in an area near the toilets and adjacent to a fire door leading to a corridor and steps and outside smoking area.

“During a period of horseplay with a friend and relative he appears to have lost his balance and gone through or caused to open the fire door, fallen, and his head has come into contact with the steps.”

After being transferred to hospital and undergoing an operation Mr Hughes said his condition “deteriorated” and Mr Whittingham later died in hospital.

Whittingham, pictured in action against Man City, is a two-time Cardiff player of the year

Mr Hughes recorded the date of death as March 18 at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff and the cause of death as “subdural hematoma (operated)”.

Mr Hughes ended the hearing by passing his “deepest condolences” to the family and friends of Mr Whittingham.

Whittingham came through the ranks at Villa, where he won the FA Youth Cup in 2002 prior to a Premier League debut a year later.

He won his first of 17 England under-21 caps in 2004 prior to loan spells at Burnley and Derby County, but it was at Cardiff where he really hit his stride following a move to the Welsh capital in 2007.

He helped the Bluebirds to the FA Cup final in his first full season at the club, and went on to establish himself as one of the Championship’s most exciting attacking midfielders over the next few seasons.

A two-time Cardiff player of the year, Whittingham captained Cardiff to promotion from the Championship in 2013, securing his third place in the division’s PFA Team of the Season for the third time in his career, while he also made the PFA’s 2005-2015 Championship team of the decade.

He made over 450 appearances and scored 98 goals in 10 years at Cardiff before finishing his career at Blackburn in 2018.

He left Cardiff for Blackburn Rovers in 2017, before having his contract terminated just over a year later.

A statement read by Mr Whittingham’s wife, Amanda, to members of the press ahead of the formal start of the hearing saw her call for him to be remembered for all he achieved.

She said: “I hope [our children] will be proud and comforted by their daddy’s life and not overshadowed by details we are about to hear about his cruel death.”




Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button