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Grand National hero Liam Treadwell died after taking mixture of strong drugs

Liam Treadwell: biggest success came in the 2009 Grand National on outsider Mon Mome
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Jockey Liam Treadwell, whose finest moment in the saddle came when partnering Mon Mome to win the 2009 Grand National at 100-1, died after taking a mixture of strong drugs, an inquest was told on Wednesday.

A post-mortem concluded Treadwell, who was found dead at his Shropshire home last June aged 34, had died of "multi-drug toxicity", with senior coroner John Ellery recording a verdict of misadventure, saying he could not be certain the rider had intended to take his own life.

The inquest was told Treadwell had taken "a cocktail of drugs", a combination of an animal painkiller and Class A substances, on the night of June 22, 2020 before sending a message to a friend, which was read out in court.

It said: "I've reached out and spoken to the crisis team this evening. I've taken a knock-me-out cocktail tonight. It will either end it for good or shut me down for several hours. I don't mind which."

Friends had found Treadwell to be lucid when checking on him after receiving the message but he was found dead the following day having not arrived for work. The inquest was told no note was found.

Members of Treadwell's family attended the inquest in Shrewsbury. Statements were read out showing him to be a high achiever at school, as well as being a friendly and social individual of whom they were proud.

Alongside his Grand National success, Treadwell rode more than 300 winners over jumps and on the Flat in Britain, including on the likes of Carrickboy at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival.

However, he sustained a severe concussion after a fall at Bangor in 2016 which led to six months on the sidelines and eventually prompted his retirement from the saddle in 2018.

Speaking in February 2018, Treadwell said: "Since I banged my head in a fall at Bangor a couple of years ago it's always been tough coping with the pressure. I came back from six months out with a different mindset.


The hero comes home: Liam Treadwell remembered at ceremony suffused with sadness


"Being a jockey isn't for me any more. I just didn't feel comfortable in my own skin. The pressure got too much."

Ellery pointed to the fall potentially being a key moment, and said: "If there is to be one significant turning point, it seems to be that. Beneath Liam's public success was a history of anxiety and depression."

The inquest was told how Treadwell had suffered from personal problems, splitting from his wife Emily and once being admitted to hospital after "drinking to excess", but he returned to riding in 2019 after securing a job with trainer Alastair Ralph which gave him "purpose again".

In a statement, Treadwell's family said he had found life challenging during the coronavirus lockdown last year and missed seeing people. "Liam didn't enjoy long periods on his own," it read.

Prior to his death, he had spent time with his parents Lorraine and Mark, and younger brother Nathan, and appeared "in top form" at a social event with friends.

The family statement concluded by saying: "I really don't believe it was Liam's time to say goodbye."


Confidential support and counselling helplines are available 24 hours a day via the Professional Jockeys Association (07780 008877) and Racing Welfare (0800 6300 443)


 

Liam didn't enjoy long periods on his own
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