It’ll be nine years, this January since we ran our Gary Wiggins obituary.
Wiggins, father of Knight of the Realm, current World Hour Record holder, reigning Olympic Team Pursuit Champion and former Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, died in hospital in Newcastle, New South Wales the day after an ‘incident’ in Muswellbrook the previous day.
At the time the facts surrounding his death were unclear; traffic accident, a fall and an ‘altercation’ were all mentioned as possible contributory factors to his death.
But Wiggin’s senior’s sister, Glenda Hughes – Sir Bradley’s auntie – has recently launched a campaign to expose the truth behind her brother’s demise at 55 years-of-age.
The big, raw boned Australian was for several seasons one of the Six Day circuits star names with a win in Bremen, a podium in Munich – ‘the world championship of Six Days’ and a win in the European Madison championship all partnered by England’s Tony Doyle.
However, Wiggins’ life after his racing career ended was nowhere as much of a success and back in Australia he slid into a round of casual jobs and hard drinking.
The first question to ask Glenda Hughes is the obvious, ‘why now ?’
Her answer was immediate and unequivocal;
“Iit didn’t seem right to bring it all up when Bradley was at his peak with the Tour de France and Olympics but things are much quieter in his career now and it’s time we established that my brother’s death was no accident; I’ve lost my father too and enough time has passed – it has to be sorted.”
Eyewitnesses have been few and those that have been questioned have been exposed as unreliable but what is known is that Wiggins was lucid and alert throughout a taxi ride from his home in Muswellbrook to Aberdeen to visit a house party there – this much was confirmed by the taxi driver who chatted to his passenger throughout the fare.
Glenda Hughes takes up the story;
“The inquest established that there was very little alcohol in Gary’s system – but in that house he was badly beaten up and then dragged out into the street and dumped there to die; we think they hoped a car would run him over and that would be accepted as cause of death.
“But a car passed, beeped it’s horn, he got to his feet, God knows how, and was found outside the local cemetery the next morning at 05:30 am, rushed to hospital but passed away.”
Two suspects in the house who were questioned by the police but no charges were brought, Hughes continues;
“It was established that one of them had lied and the other invoked his right to silence and wouldn’t speak.
“Unfortunately the first prosecutor who was involved with the case suffered a heart attack and had to withdraw from it – he was going to take the case on – but he was replaced by a younger man who would not pursue it, for whatever reason.
“The local media have since reported that both of the witnesses were police informers and that’s why no charges have been brought.”
Wiggins’ injuries were horrific, Hughes explains;
“The coroner said that after he was beaten he was dragged out to the street, his head banging off every one of a flight of concrete stairs down to street level before he was dumped on the tarmac.”
Dissatisfied with the explanations she was being offered Hughes journeyed to Aberdeen;
“I was walking down the street with my daughter when I saw a girl approach and I just had this feeling that I had to speak to her so I asked my daughter – who’s a smoker – to ask her for a light.
“She looked at me and said; “on my God ! you’re Gary’s sister, aren’t you?”
“I said that I was and was there anything she needed to disclose – she explained that two men, she named as ‘N’ and ‘D,’ had picked up Gary from the road where he lay and dragged him up to the cemetery where they beat him again – that explained how he got there, which I couldn’t understand, given his injuries.”
The Australian Media has given the affair mixed reactions as Hughes explains;
“There was a writer on the Herald Sun who used to do a piece each year on the anniversary of Gary’s death but that stopped when he left the paper.
“I contacted the Australian TV programme ‘A Current Affair’ but they’ve been told not to touch it.”
The case remains ‘open’ and can be re-investigated; Hughes ambition is to have the case re-opened by petitioning the New South Wales Premier; thus far several hundred have signed her petition but she needs as many signatures as possible to overcome the inertia around the case.
She can be reached via the Gary Wiggins Justice petition on Change.org.
The British tabloid newspapers haven’t been kind to Gary Wiggins with all sorts of lurid tales about his cycling career; but the man was a pioneer, a European Champion when six day racing was a tough, fast sport run before sell-out crowds across Europe, not the shadow of its former self it has become.
‘Justice for Gary Wiggins’ does not seem like an unreasonable demand in light of all of the above.