Hailsham cancer patient dies at cliffs near Eastbourne

A 86-year-old man with cancer was found dead at the cliffs near Eastbourne last summer.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 11:18 am

Brian Gauntlett, of Sandbanks Gardens, died near Birling Gap on August 13 last year, an inquest heard.

The inquest at Eastbourne Town Hall on Thursday (April 22), heard Mr Gauntlett, a retired purchasing negotiator, had been diagnosed with terminal cancer – which affected his left eye – in April 2020.

Dr Christiane Naebaburmer, his GP, said the cancer gave Mr Gauntlett headaches and he was on various forms of medication to try to manage the pain.

Eastbourne Town Hall SUS-210216-141612001

Sharon Masson, his friend and carer, said, “He was a very independent man and always organised.”

She said she was due to go on holiday on August 12 so St Wilfrid’s Hospice had been contacted about respite care, but unfortunately no beds were available so APC Care Ltd was arranged to care for Mr Gauntlett while she was away.

Ms Masson said a bed became available at St Wilfrid’s on August 13 and carers went to collect Mr Gauntlett but he was not at home.

The inquest heard the carers alerted police and the Beachy Head chaplaincy.

At 11.11am police officers were made aware of Mr Gauntlett’s body being found at Birling Gap.

East Sussex coroner Alan Craze ruled Mr Gauntlett took his own life.

• If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, the Samaritans may be able to help – the charity’s helpline number is 116 123.