Student nurse who suffered from OCD found dead at Birling Gap, inquest hears

Birling Gap
Birling Gap

A popular student nurse who suffered from ‘crippling’ Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) was sadly found dead at Birling Gap, an inquest heard today (Thursday).

The inquest at Eastbourne Town Hall heard Paul Sinclair, 44 from Manchester, took his own life after struggling for years with the condition.

His father John Sinclair said in a statement, “He was a happy and well adjusted boy until, at age 17, he developed OCD and needed medical treatment.

“Over the years he struggled with crippling rituals and intrusive thoughts.

“He was well liked by colleagues at his work, he had many friends.

“He underestimated his own popularity. He was much loved by his family.”

The court heard how, a former careworker, Paul was studying for a degree in nursing at Salford University, and had become increasingly anxious about failing to submit the written component of his coursework.

Mr Sinclair’s statement said, “He knew he had failed to complete it. He struggled to cope with this failure.”

Walkers came across his body while on the beach at Birling Gap on April 25. They then alerted staff at Birling Gap cafe who called police.

The inquest heard chaplains told officers they had seen a car in a layby at Beachy Head with a note on the passenger’s seat.

PC Nicholas Funnell inspected the car and said he could see ‘what seemed to be a suicide note’. He found identification in the car such as bank details and student ID belonging to Mr Sinclair.

The note was dated the day before – the day Mr Sinclair’s coursework was due – and the coroner confirmed it was his suicide note.

Coroner for East Sussex Alan Craze said, “In view of the suicide note and circumstances leading to this tragedy there cannot be room for any doubt.”

Recording a verdict that Mr Sinclair took his own life, he said, “I wonder if it was while the balance of his mind was disturbed. He was clearly suffering considerable anxiety that he hadn’t handed in the written part of his degree course.

“That anxiety has led to him taking his own life in this way.”

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.