Shrewsbury Town favourite Steve Jagielka's death was drug related, coroner rules

The ex-wife of Shrewsbury Town favourite Steve Jagielka insisted more should be done to help footballers after they retire, after his death was recorded as being drug-related.

Steve Jagielka
Steve Jagielka

The inquest of the 43-year-old former Salop winger was held at Shirehall on Tuesday. The inquest heard that he had drugs in his system, with a pathologist giving the cause of his death as aspiration pneumonia due to methadone toxicity.

Mr Jagielka, a father-of-three whose brother Phil is a former England international defender, had been planning on returning to his native Manchester, having earlier built a life in Shropshire while he was a professional footballer.

He was found in the living room of his home in Rodington, Telford, on March 15 this year by his cousin, who had been helping him move.

Coroner John Ellery gave a conclusion of drug-related death. He said there was no evidence of suicide.

Mr Ellery also heard that there had been reports of possible cocaine use in the days prior to the ex-footballer's death - with samples showing high levels of methadone and "moderate" levels of cocaine.

Mr Jagielka's ex-wife, Miss Jo Fallows, read a tribute saying: "Steve had a lasting and positive impact on many people's lives. This is how I would like him to be remembered, as a fun-loving and charming character. He will be very missed by his three children, myself and all of his family and friends. Rest in peace, Steve."

After the hearing, Miss Fallows told the Shropshire Star that Mr Jagielka had "lost his way a bit" when his football career finished, although he worked hard to support his family at Caterpillar in Shrewsbury, and with his own plumbing business.

Asked whether he struggled after retiring from the game, she said: "I think so. That was his passion. It was all he had ever known. With his brother still playing, he wanted to be out there doing the same thing.

"He was a big character everywhere he went. He had his own plumbing business as well.

"I think the [Professional Footballers' Association] should be helping them a bit more."

Mr Jagielka, who made 207 appearances and scored 23 goals for Shrewsbury Town, went on to help Accrington Stanley gain promotion to the Football League.

He also had spells at Sheffield United and AFC Telford United.

In a statement issued shortly after his death, the South Yorkshire club said: "Sheffield United is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former player Steve Jagielka - brother of current defender Phil - at the age of 43.

"The condolences of all at the Blades are with Phil and the rest of the Jagielka family at this difficult time."

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