'Troubled' former Mansfield Town player took his own life, inquest hears

Former Mansfield Town player Lee Collins took his own life and had cocaine in his system when he was found dead in a hotel room, an inquest heard.

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 8:25 pm

The 32-year-old, who was captain of Yeovil Town at the time of his death, was discovered by the club's assistant manager Terry Skiverton on March 31, after he did not arrive for training.

He had been "struggling with injuries and personal problems", including the break-up of a relationship, Taunton Coroners' Court was told.

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Lee Collins playing for Mansfield Town

Senior Somerset coroner Tony Williams recorded a conclusion of suicide.

Mr Collins began his career at Wolverhampton Wanderers and spent time at Port Vale, Barnsley, Northampton Town, Mansfield Town and Forest Green Rovers, before joining Yeovil Town in 2019.

He had battled long-term alcohol problems as well as a gambling habit and the recreational use of cocaine before his death, Mr Williams told the hearing.

Toxicology tests revealed alcohol and cocaine in Mr Collins' system when he was found at the Lanes Hotel, West Coker, Somerset.

In a statement to the inquest, his partner Rachel Gibbon said Mr Collins, from Newport, South Wales, was a "gentle giant, the kindest most generous man you could have met", but there were two sides to his "very complex character".

"I begged him to get help but he would get aggressive, verbally aggressive," Ms Gibbon's statement said. "I could not have physically dragged him to the doctors. He did not want help."

Ms Gibbon said her partner was "the joker, the class clown" but he was also "insecure and anxious" with an addictive personality.

Mr Collins would drink six bottles of cider and two bottles of wine a day, and had begun drinking spirits too, the inquest heard.

"For the last 10 years he would drink every single day, strong cider.

"Lee was your captain, your leader. For us he was our safe place, our best friend," Ms Gibbon added.

Manager of the National League club, Darren Sarll, said Mr Collins had recently separated with Ms Gibbon and was "an inconsistent character" who had not turned up for training in the past.

He played his last game for the club against Stockport in February.

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