A man’s body was found at Normans Bay beach four days after a large search for a missing person was carried out off the coast of Bexhill.
The body of Simon Jenner, 51, of Congleton, Cheshire, was spotted by a builder working nearby on May 24, 2019.
An inquest into his death, held in Hastings today (Tuesday, October 1), heard Mr Jenner, a train driver, had been reported missing on May 20.
Later that same day, Jamie Hancock, a beach cleaner at Normans Bay, discovered a bundle of clothes with a mobile phone, £4 in cash, a carrier bag containing medication, and a handwritten note underneath it.
While taking the note to a nearby café, Mr Hancock said the mobile phone rang. When he answered it, it was an officer from Cheshire Police who asked Mr Hancock if he was Simon Jenner. When Mr Hancock told the officer he was not and had just found the phone, the officer asked him to stay where he was and the local police force would be notified.
Approximately ten minutes later, Sussex Police, and later the coastguard, arrived at Normans Bay, and carried out a search for Mr Jenner.
At the time, a police spokesman said officers were working with HM Coastguard after a report that a ‘man entered the sea’.
Later that day, police found Mr Jenner’s car parked in Lionel Road, Bexhill.
In a written statement read to the court, PC Mercer said the car was unlocked and a handwritten note was found on the dashboard.
Police concluded that both the note found at the beach and the note in the car were suicide notes.
As a result, Sussex Police issued a missing person appeal to the media on May 21.
On May 24, Steven Stone was working on a house overlooking the beach and shoreline at Normans Bay when he said he noticed a figure of a man in the water.
He initially thought the man was swimming, until he realised the man’s face ‘was not moving’, he wrote in a statement read to the court.
Mr Stone called 999 and, when the police arrived, he helped officers recover Mr Jenner’s body from the water and place him onto the shingle.
A post mortem concluded Mr Jenner had died from drowning, while a toxicology report showed there were no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of his death.
Alan Craze, the senior coroner for East Sussex, returned a conclusion of suicide and offered his condolences to Mr Jenner’s family.