Tragic Newton was helping drug probe at time of death

TERRY NEWTON, the former Great Britain hooker who committed suicide at the weekend, had been helping anti-doping chiefs track down suppliers of illegal substances.

Newton, who died aged 31 and is thought to have been found hanged at his home near Wigan on Sunday, was banned from the sport in February after testing positive for human growth hormone.

And it emerged yesterday that since his ban the former Wakefield, Bradford, Wigan and Leeds player had been aiding UK Anti-Doping in their efforts to investigate the trade in performance-enhancing substances.

“On behalf of UK Anti-Doping, our sympathies go out to the family and friends of Terry Newton at this difficult time,” said UKAD chief executive Andy Parkinson. “While the circumstances of our relationship with Mr Newton were hardly ideal, we had respect for his openness and willingness to share his story to help his sport. In recent months Mr Newton had been assisting UK Anti-Doping in its enquiries into the use and supply of performance-enhancing drugs, specific details about which are strictly confidential.”

Newton is said to have become depressed since having his contract cancelled by Wakefield, but the Rugby Football League yesterday moved to deflect suggestions that they had neglected Newton since his enforced exit from the game.

“People in rugby league stayed close to him. He was not left high and dry,” said spokesman John Ledger.