Man took his own life after ‘obsessive delusions’ over a woman

Eastbourne Town Hall (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190425-155043008
Eastbourne Town Hall (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190425-155043008

A divorced father took his own life at cliffs near Cuckmere Haven after suffering with mental health problems and becoming obsessing over a woman who didn’t love him back, an Eastbourne inquest heard.

David Hallam, 51, a joiner who lived in Old Uckfield Road, Lewes, died on March 17 from multiple injuries after falling from the cliffs.

GP Dr Millie Lear said an accident at work left Mr Hallam with a skull fracture and he was also dealing with a broken down marriage.

Dr Lear said the issues became complicated and led to stress which started to affect his life.

In a meeting in November 2016 with the GP, it was said Mr Hallam had signs of paranoia, possible psychosis and suicidal thoughts.

On the day of the accident DS Ross Bartlett received a phone call at 12.45pm after members of the public walking along the beach reported seeing a body.

The father-of-two was identified when a European insurance photocard and pictures of his children were discovered in his wallet in his pocket.

His Ford Galaxy car was found after the event, by PC Sean Corbin at Litlington, and had the Lord’s prayer written out and left on the passenger seat.

The inquest heard how 72 hours prior to Mr Hallam’s death police had been searching for him to conduct an interview about “a stalking matter” which Mr Hallam was aware of.

Mental health service manager Simon Hellier said Mr Hallam was driven by “erotomaniac delusions” (a delusional belief that another person is in love with them despite clear evidence against it) because the woman had smiled at him in a restaurant where she was waitressing and he mistakenly read this as a sign that she was in love with him.

Dr Farhad Hosseini, a psychiatrist, said Mr Hallam had told him about a delivery of numerous bouquets of flowers to the woman’s address and how he turned up to her house but left once she had phoned the police.

Dr Hosseini said he remembers meeting Mr Hallam because of the “unique” story he told about his interactions with the woman.

The inquest heard how Mr Hallam had thoughts of suicide, a plan to hang himself, low mood, severe head injuries and flashbacks of a childhood assault.

Coroner Alan Craze recorded a conclusion of suicide.