GB Olympian found hanged in woodland after final email to girlfriend

By Mirror: Thursday, October 31st 2019 at 09:18 GMT +3 | Sports

 

 

Fallon poses in his Team GB tracksuit before the 2008 Olympics. [Courtesy]

Former world judo champion Craig Fallon emailed his partner to say "this was my choice" before he was found dead in woodland, an inquest has heard. A coroner recorded a conclusion of suicide by the father-of-one, at a hearing on Wednesday.

Judo coach Mr. Fallon was found near the Wrekin, east Shropshire, on July 15, Shropshire Coroner's Court heard.

The 36-year-old judoka, of Lawley Bank, Telford, had been reported missing by family members at 6 pm the previous evening.

Senior coroner for Shropshire John Ellery said Mr. Fallon had also told his partner face to face, the previous day, that "she would never see him again".

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Fallon beat Akram Shah to win Commonwealth gold. [Courtesy]

Family members discovered Mr. Fallon's vehicle at the bottom of the Wrekin but were unable to trace him. A police search resumed at first light on July 15 and he was discovered a short time later and confirmed dead at 5.24 am.

Mr. Ellery said: "Without going into detail, Craig was then found hanging and he was deceased.

"The last communication was in the evening and with various messages. The last of those messages was at 6.05 pm on Sunday evening, so we know Craig was alive then."

Mr. Ellery added that Mr. Fallon had sent "a long email" to his partner.

"I'm not going to read it out, as it's personal and private," he told the court. "But there's one line which I will because it is relevant.

"Craig said, 'Remember, this was my choice'. That tells me it was not accidental."

Mr. Fallon - who won the -60kg title at the World Championships in 2005 and the European title the following year - was found dead less than five months after becoming head coach of the Welsh Judo Association (WJA).

He remains the last British judo fighter to win a world title following his win in Cairo.

Mr. Fallon, who had a partner and son, is also one of only two British men - alongside Neil Adams - to hold the world and European titles at the same time.

The 2002 Commonwealth Games champion went on to represent Great Britain at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, placing seventh.
Ipswich-born Mr. Fallon retired from the sport in 2011.

Fallon could only finish seventh at the 2008 Olympics. [Courtesy]

After spending some time in Austria, he was appointed as head coach of the WJA in March.

After news of the death, British Judo performance director Nigel Donohue paid tribute to the "outstanding judo fighter of his generation".

He said: "It is with great shock to hear of the passing of Craig.

"Craig is a son and father, as well as an outstanding judo fighter of his generation in world judo."

He praised Mr. Fallon as a "fantastic ambassador" for the sport and "the most talented judoka I have ever had the pleasure to watch competing for Great Britain".

"He will be greatly missed by his family and the judo world, which has lost a talented athlete and coach."

Chief executive of the WJA Darren Warner said: "Our heartfelt sympathies are with his family during this difficult time.

"He was only with the organisation for a short time but was a joy to work with and will be sorely missed."

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