The mother of former Newcastle star Jonas Gutierrez has claimed she considered taking her own life at St James’ Park – after he was “thrown out like a bad dog” following his cancer diagnosis.
In evidence supporting the Argentina international’s disability discrimination claim, Monica Montore said she was so upset with Newcastle’s hierarchy she wanted to leave a suicide note for club officials.
Gutierrez is reported to be seeking around £2million in compensation after alleging Newcastle “ensured” he did not start in enough matches to trigger an automatic extension clause in his contract.
The 32-year-old further claims that Newcastle told him his future lay elsewhere and viewed him as a “liability” after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in October 2013.
Addressing an employment tribunal in Birmingham, Ms Montore claimed she discussed the issue of suicide with one of her son’s lawyers, Colin Pomford, in January 2014.
Ms Montore, who acts as her son’s manager, was assisted by a Spanish interpreter as she told the hearing: “I was so distressed at what they had done to Jonas that I just wanted to take my own life at the club’s door.
“I was going to leave a letter to say what a terrible way they had treated Jonas.
“He returns from his operation to have lost a testicle – from a hit on Newcastle’s pitch…he returns from that operation and they throw him out like a bad dog.”
In a written witness statement submitted to the tribunal, Ms Montore, a company director who lives in Argentina, said she acted as her son’s manager in respect of key professional decisions and had selected Pedro Bravo as his agent in June 2008.
The statement said Ms Montore was “so upset and helpless about the way Jonas was being treated” that it compounded her distress at his cancer diagnosis.
The footballer’s mother added: “I told Colin that I felt so desperate and low about the situation that I considered harming myself.
“I asked Colin what the club would do if I were to commit suicide at the stadium, leaving a note explaining that this was due to the despair that I felt about the discrimination my son was facing by the club.
“Looking back, even expressing such thoughts looks extreme but I cannot deny that it happened and it brings back very clear memories.”
Ms Montore also disputed elements of documents submitted to the tribunal by Newcastle’s managing director, Lee Charnley, which state that the club kept in touch with family members “to ensure that they knew that Jonas remained in our thoughts”.
Ms Montore said: “This is categorically not the case as I remember feeling upset that the club seemed to show a lack of interest in Jonas’s welfare once the cancer was diagnosed.
“Apart from one email from the club doctor to Jonas on October 17 asking for my contact details for the doctor in Argentina, I did not receive any telephone calls or emails from the club and neither did Jonas.”
Under cross-examination from Newcastle’s barrister, Sean Jones QC, Ms Montore was asked to explain why she had not raised her concerns about discrimination directly with the club.
Mr Jones asked Montore: “You were going to raise the subject of discrimination in a suicide note? If you had genuinely thought that your son was being discriminated against – rather than just treated insensitively – you would have raised it formally wouldn’t you?”
Ms Montore answered: “I think you are trying to dress a monkey with a silk dress and trying to pretend that it is a princess.”