Man’s body found at bottom of Eastbourne cliffs

The inquest was held at Muriel Matters House in Hastings
The inquest was held at Muriel Matters House in Hastings

A man whose body was found at the bottom of cliffs in Eastbourne intended to take his own life, an inquest has heard.

The body of 66-year-old Bryan Challis, from Surrey, was found on January 20, 2019.

An inquest into his death, held in Hastings today (April 30, heard the civil engineer had been diagnosed with a stress-related issue in November 2006.

The inquest heard Mr Challis was suffering from depression and anxiety due to a delay in the completion of a house sale.

The day before he took his life, he told a member of the chaplaincy team he had left a note at his address in Surrey which was later found by an estate agent.

His body was recovered by a lifeboat team on Sunday, January 20.

The inquest was read a statement from Mr Challis’ partner, who lives in Germany.

In it, she said, “I am still struggling to cope with the loss of a beloved partner.

“He spent much of his professional life on trips abroad and this made building relationships difficult.

“He was a perfectionist and his friends have told me he was happier and more relaxed since we met.

“My wellbeing was his priority. I will always remember him for his integrity, honesty and deep love.

“I have lost the most amazing person I have ever met.”

The inquest was told that Mr Challis had long suffered with anxiety and depression.

In January 2019, he attended an appointment with his doctor where he explained he had been suffering from a low mood for the proceeding three months and had ‘fleeting thoughts of not wanting to be alive’.

He told his doctor that his partner in Germany had been a great support to him.

Returning a conclusion of suicide, senior coroner for East Sussex Alan Craze said: “He knew he was ill and he knew he needed help. He thought to come back and he sought help from others. Tragically he did not do so.”

• 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.