‘Loving and caring’ man died at cliffs near Eastbourne

A 27-year-old man was found dead at the cliffs near Eastbourne, an inquest heard.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 1:57 pm

The inquest at Eastbourne Town Hall on Thursday (July 8), heard Charlie Hickling, a railway assistant from Guildford, died at the cliffs on December 31,2020.

Jacqueline Hickling, Mr Hickling’s mother, said, “Charlie was loving and caring, he’d do anything for anyone. He was liked by everyone.”

On December 28 Mr Hickling came to stay with his mum in Caterham for a night, leaving suddenly the following afternoon.

Eastbourne Town Hall SUS-210216-141625001

She said, “He didn’t seem himself.”

Dr Imran Khan, Mr Hickling’s GP, said he spoke to him on December 30. Dr Khan told the inquest Mr Hickling’s mood was low due to losing his job through the pandemic, but he was ‘optimistic to find a new job in the new year’.

Dr Khan said Mr Hickling told him he’d found lockdown difficult, but was ‘conversational and forthcoming’.

The conversation ended with Dr Khan referring Mr Hickling to cognitive behavioral therapy.

Ms Hickling saw her son on December 30 and said he ‘seemed okay’ when he went home and had planned to visit the following weekend.

Mental health workers Dee Archer and Lan Seow saw Mr Hickling the night of December 30 when he was presented to them with signs of anxiety and psychosis.

They said he was ‘reluctant to talk’ and kept trying to leave.

He got up and left before the assessment was complete, and for this reason they deemed him as a high risk missing person and notified police.

East Sussex coroner Alan Craze said, “There was nothing more you could have done.”

A report from detective sergeant Jason Hoadley revealed a 999 call had been made by Mr Hickling on the morning of December 31 where he told police what he was going to do and officers were sent straight away to Beachy Head to search for Mr Hickling.

The inquest heard Shane Pont, a dog walker on the beach, found Mr Hickling’s body at 8.50am.

Mr Craze ruled Mr Hickling had taken 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.