‘He was an honest hard working man who loved his family’: Tributes paid to man found in the sea near Eastbourne

Tributes have been paid to a 34-year-old man who went missing from his Suffolk home and was recovered days later off the coast of Eastbourne.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 10:33 am

Matthew Bursey was found in the sea off Cuckmere Haven on October 20 last year, an inquest heard.

The inquest at Eastbourne Town Hall on Thursday (May 13), heard Mr Bursey, an accountant from Newmarket in Suffolk, went missing on October 1.

Mr Bursey’s wife Eleanor, who was pregnant with the couple’s first child at the time of his disappearance, said he was ‘struggling’ with work and that caused him to become ‘deflated’.

Eastbourne Town Hall SUS-210216-141612001

Mr Bursey had been working from home throughout the pandemic and his mother Christine Bursey said she thought ‘he was missing the routine work provided’.

Eleanor Bursey said he told her he’d made a mistake at work and wanted to move jobs.

She said, “He was struggling to sleep because he was blaming himself for making mistakes.”

However, after the 20-week baby scan which revealed they were having a girl, she said, “He was delighted we were both healthy and had chosen the nursery colours.”

The inquest heard that on the morning of October 1 Mr Bursey told his wife he was going into work to update his laptop. That evening Eleanor Bursey started to feel concerned when he hadn’t returned and reported him missing to police.

CCTV at his place of work confirmed he never arrived that day, and instead his car was recovered by police at Birling Gap, the inquest heard.

Mr Bursey remained missing for the next 20 days, and on October 20 detective sergeant Tod Stewart was informed a body had been found in the water at Cuckmere Haven.

DS Stewart told the inquest DNA checks confirmed it was Mr Bursey.

Christine Bursey said she saw her son two weeks before he went missing and said he ‘seemed fine, he was chatty’.

She said, “They were a really happy couple. He was an honest, hard-working man who loved his family. I don’t know why he did this.”

Derek Hodgkiss, who worked with Mr Bursey at PPD pharmaceuticals, said, “He was quiet, but he worked hard and he was reliable. He was a very gentle person and there were no issues at work.”

Eleanor Bursey said she feels ‘deep sadness’ now.

East Sussex coroner Alan Craze said, “I think he developed some anxiety and depression, and he hid it.”

Mr Craze ruled Mr Bursey 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.