Cliff fall tragedy at Cuckmere Haven

Cuckmere cliffs
Cuckmere cliffs

A man tragically ended his life at Seven Sisters Country Park, an inquest heard.

Richard Rowland, 45, was found dead at the bottom of the cliffs at Cuckmere Haven on March 3.

The inquest in Eastbourne yesterday (Thursday November 27) heard Mr Rowland, who was a freelance photographer and mental health support worker, had struggled with his father’s death just months before. His mother and sister had also been ill, and he had been struggling to find work, which heightened his anxiety.

Mr Rowland, of Brighton, had been to a GP, and was taking anti-depressants, but was sectioned in late January, when he tried to take his own life by driving his friend’s car into a lamppost.

He was taken to Mill View Hospital in Hove, where he stayed for seven days, and was visited by mental health workers regularly after he left their care.

It also emerged Mr Rowland told mental health workers he had been to Beachy Head several times in recent months, “with the intention of jumping off”, but had second thoughts.

The day before his death, he was cautioned by police over crashing his friend’s car, something his mental health workers said he felt “guilt” over.

“It has to go down as a very great tragedy,” said coroner Alan Craze, who recorded a verdict of suicide.

He said mental health workers could not have done anything more to prevent Mr Rowland from taking his own life.