Health fears of JJB suicide boss — (Manchester Evening News)

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Manchester Evening News

17 Feb 2007

THE commits, found hanged from a tree, had been suffering health and work problems, an inquest heard.

Duncan Sharpe, 43, was found hanging from a tree at Bolton by Bowland, near Clitheroe, in October.

He was vice chairman of Wigan Athletic and married to 40-year-old Jayne Whelan, daughter of JJB Sports founder Dave Whelan.

Mr Whelan told an inquest at Clitheroe today (Monday) that Mr Sharpe had become depressed after suffering an illness that caused him to pass blood.

Mr. Whelan said: “He only discussed it with me when he was passing blood and in my opinion it was causing him real concern, he was really worried about it.”
The inquest heard that Mr. Sharpe had spoken to Mr Whelan about the possibility of him standing down from his position within JJB Sports as he was worried about his illness and the fact that he could not fulfil his duties.

Interest

Coroner Michael Singleton asked Mr Whelan whether he thought Mr Sharpe had been troubled most by his health or his work problems.

Mr Whelan said: “In my opinion his health was the problem originally. Over three or four months he became very depressed and I saw a down-turn in his work, in his attitude towards work, there was a loss of interest.

“He became a very, very worried person. It was most unlike Duncan. Normally he was very full of life and in good spirits.” Mr. Whelan added that Mr Sharpe had been treated for kidney stones at a private hospital in Manchester and had received medication from the JJB Sports company doctor.

Mr Whelan added that he thought his son-in-law was on anti depressant tablets. Mr. Whelan last saw Mr. Sharpe at a Wigan Athletic football match two days before he was found hanging from a tree.

He added: “I spoke to him and asked him if everything was alright and he said yes.”

Mr Whelan said he had been told Mr Sharpe had written to another JJB Sports director saying that “things were getting on top of him and he couldn’t take it anymore.”

A suicide verdict was recorded.