AN EASTBOURNE man whose body was found 50ft down a cliff near Beachy Head may have jumped or fallen.
George Howard Jones, of Chiswick Place, Eastbourne, was found by coastguards on September 24 while they were dealing with another body found in the Beachy Head area.
Coastguard officer Stuart McNab spotted the body of Mr Jones in bushes and the police helicopter was called to help with the recovery.
An inquest into the 80-year-old’s death took place on Thursday (February 3) and coroner Alan Craze said it was a probable suicide but it could not be proven that Mr Jones had intended to take his life.
Dr Stewart, his GP, told the coroner Mr Jones had suffered a stroke in 2003 and had consequently suffered from spells of dizziness.
The coroner was also told Mr Jones had suffered from depression and had been admitted to Eastbourne DGH in 2010, after trying to commit suicide by stopping breathing.
He was later assessed as being at “low risk” of suicide.
However, he was referred to psychiatrists at the Sussex Partnership NHS Trust who sent him a letter detailing an appointment for an interview at his home.
Mr Jones became concerned about this letter and the arranged interview.
He raised his concerns with the trust and a visit was made to his home around two days before the appointment was due to take place.
Emma Good, who visited Mr Jones, said, “He was less anxious when I left.
“I asked about suicidal thoughts and he said he was not suicidal at that time.”
On September 15, the day of the appointment, the psychiatrist who was due to visit Mr Jones left a message on his answering machine to say she would be unable to attend but would make contact with him later that day.
It is not known if Mr Jones ever got the message because on September 17, after numerous phone calls from his brother, he was reported as missing.
The pathologist was unable to give a cause of death due to the decomposition of the body but said he believed Mr Jones had been dead for between seven and 14 days.
Alan Craze recorded an open verdict and said he thought it was a probable suicide but Mr Jones could have taken a walk and suffered from a dizzy spell which had caused him to fall from the cliffs.