Popular Eastbourne businessman took his own life, inquest finds

Russell Chance
Russell Chance

The family of a ‘gregarious’, popular Eastbourne businessman who was the ‘life and soul of the party’ have paid tribute to him.

Father of two Russell Chance was found dead at Verrall and Parks, the Seaside plumbing and heating business he was director of, aged just 36.

At an inquest in Hastings yesterday (Tuesday), his partner Dariana Galli said in a statement, “He was the nicest man you would wish to meet. He was loving, caring, and doted on his family.

“We had a very happy life together, we were deeply in love. He was funny, gregarious and the life and soul of the party.

“Once or twice a year he would have a blow out with his friends. He had a fun addictive personality and always lived life on a high. He always got the approval and adulation of everyone he met.

“I don’t think there’s any chance in his right mind he would take his own life as he had so much to live for.”

The night before he died he had been out for a drink with friends in Brighton. He also had cocaine in his bloodstream, the inquest heard.

But he did not come home that night like he had agreed with his partner as his car had broken down.

His body was found on February 11, by his father Michael Chance. A post mortem by Dr Zainab Ali found he died by hanging, the inquest heard.

Michael Chance said in a statement, “Russell was devoted to Dariana and the two children they had together. I believe they were completely happy together.”

He said the last time he had seen his son alive was at lunch where they had been discussing a loan Michael Chance had made to the company.

He said the meeting had been friendly and there seemed nothing out of the ordinary.

“He’s bright and intelligent and never displayed any signs he would take his own life,” he said, “It doesn’t make sense.”

Russell’s friend Gary Lowery said, “He was my best friend. He was a lovely, gregarious individual, excellent company in any situation.”

Mr Lowery’s statement said Mr Chance had called him on the Saturday morning at about 10.30am saying ‘I’m in trouble’.

A police investigation found Mr Chance also said this to a taxi driver on his way back to Eastbourne.

Coroner Alan Craze concluded Mr Chance had taken his own life and expressed sympathy to his family.