Craig Fallon: Telford world judo champion 'killed himself after sending email to partner'

A world judo champion and GB Olympian took his own life after telling his partner she would not see him again, an inquest heard.

Craig Fallon pictured after winning gold at the World Judo Championships in 2005
Craig Fallon pictured after winning gold at the World Judo Championships in 2005

Craig Fallon was found dead in woodland near the Wrekin campsite, around three miles from his home in Lawley Bank, Telford, on July 15 this year.

At around 6pm the previous evening police were called by the father of Mr Fallon's partner, reporting that he had been missing for several hours.

At an inquest at Shirehall, John Ellery, senior coroner for Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, said: "Craig was a judo champion and highly successful and regarded in his sport and occupation."

He added that Mr Fallon had suffered from mental health issues, including depression.

Mr Fallon in action at the Beijing Olympics in 2008

Mr Fallon, a father-of-one, was 36 years old and working as a judo coach at the time of his death.

The inquest heard police and family members began to search for him until it became too dark, and resumed at around 5am the following morning.

Mr Fallon's body was found in woodland at 5.24am.

The last communication from Mr Fallon had been an e-mail to his partner saying, "remember this is my choice".

Mr Ellery recorded a conclusion of suicide.

Last British world champion

Mr Fallon, who won the -60kg title at the World Championships in Cairo 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.

He remains the last British judo fighter to win a world title.

Born in Ipswich, Mr Fallon grew up in Wolverhampton and was also one of only two British men to hold the world and European titles at the same time.

Mr Fallon pictured in 2011

The 2002 England Commonwealth Games champion went on to represent Great Britain at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, placing seventh, before retiring from the sport in 2011.

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

Following his 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 Welsh Judo Association 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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