Open verdict recorded for builder found dead at home

MYSTERY surrounds the death of a self-employed builder found at his home in East Dean.

Kevin John Grant, who had a history of drinking too much and taking too many painkillers, was discovered by his landlady Valerie Davies-Gilbert at his flat in The Fridays on September last year.

An inquest heard this week that because Mr Grant had been dead for some time when he was found, a post-mortem failed to reveal the exact cause of death and an open verdict was recorded.

Eastbourne DGH pathologist Dr Stanford Mathe said there was a high concentration of alcohol in the dead man’s blood and normal traces of anti-depressants.

The inquest heard Mr Grant, who was 50 when he died, had suffered bouts of depression and had made suicide attempts in recent years.

His GP, Dr Kenneth Ivil from Downlands Medical Centre in Polegate, said at his last appointment Mr Grant had seemed very positive and said he was feeling better.

But in the same month he was spotted by Beachy Head chaplain Ben Russell walking along the cliff top at Belle Tout late at night and was detained under the Mental Health Act by police and taken to the DGH.

He was seen by mental health worker Alun Stere Jones and prescribed different anti depressants.

Mr Grant’s wife Juliana Grant said her husband suffered with stress and depression and had moved out of the family home in Oxendean Gardens in June to the flat in East Dean so he could have some “chilling out” time. She described her late husband as a lovely caring man and a loyal husband.

The inquest heard villagers had seen Mr Grant, a father of three, in the days before his death and he was on good form.

East Sussex coroner Alan Craze said mystery would always surround Mr Grant’s death as there was no way of knowing for sure what had caused it.

“It is never satisfactory to get to the end of the inquest without knowing what has happened,” said Mr Craze.

“It is pretty rare but it does happen. I can be quite clear that there is no possibility of a verdict of suicide. He either died of natural causes or something to do with alcohol but I cannot be sure which so will record an open verdict.”