Football coach plagued by mystery fear committed suicide, inquest rules

By Marion Brennan | Walsall | News | Published:

A football coach took his own life after deliberately running in front of a coach carrying young children returning from a school outing on the M5 at Great Barr, an inquest heard.

Nicholas Mowl

Nicholas Mowl, aged 41, had been troubled by a mystery trauma, believed to be related to his health.

The week before his death, the retired semi-professional footballer had been due to return to Australia where he had been working but failed to make the flight, saying he was ill.

The coach, which had been taking pupils to Grove Primary in Handsworth, Birmingham, after a day at Kingsbury Water Park, Warwickshire, on May 16, had been diverted due to the closure of the Aston Expressway following the discovery of an unexploded Second World War bomb nearby.

Driver Gurdip Bagree, of Broadway West, Walsall, described seeing a black car veer sharply in front of a tipper truck ahead of him on the southbound sliproad causing the lorry to brake.

The Vauxhall Insignia then pulled on to the hard shoulder and parked abruptly before the driver jumped out about two coach lengths away from the Attain Travel coach.

Mr Bagree said: "Alarm bells did start ringing. The driver looked back and made eye contact, then he ran in front of my vehicle. It was so sudden, I didn't expect that to happen - I had no chance to react."

Pc Stuart Thorpe, who investigated the incident, said the Vauxhall's engine was still running when police got to the scene.

The coach's windscreen had been smashed in the impact but no one on board had been hurt. A post mortem showed that Mr Mowl , from Knowle, Solihull, who worked for sports agency Omnisports, died from multiple injuries.


Other witnesses and roadside CCTV footage confirmed that he had run directly into the path of the coach, which had been travelling at 62mph.

The inquest heard that Mr Mowl, who had played for Solihull Moors and Bedworth United, had worked as a football coach and scout in America and Australia since retiring from playing.

He had returned to the UK towards the end of last year after a relationship breakdown although he was still in contact with his former partner and had intended to return to Australia on May 8 with a view to possibly resolving the split.

According to his parents, who were not at the hearing, Mr Mowl had alluded to 'something that had happened in his life', possibly the diagnosis of a terminal illness, that he did not elaborate on, said Pc Thorpe.


But inquiries with GPs and hospitals could find no evidence to support his concerns, the inquest heard.

Black Country coroner Zafar Siddique concluded that Mr Mowl's death was due to suicide. "Unfortunately we don't understand the reason behind it," he added.


Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.

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