Teen died after jumping from Eastbourne pier

Eastbourne Pier (Photo by Jon Rigby)
Eastbourne Pier (Photo by Jon Rigby)

A teenager who died after falling from Eastbourne pier was under the influence of a three-day drug binge, an inquest heard yesterday (October 11).

Popular young man Callum King, 18, died in May last year just hours after leaving the DGH following a psychotic episode.

At the inquest in Eastbourne town hall, coroner Alan Craze said being ‘heavily under the influence of drugs’ was the cause of his death, and indicated more resources were needed to deal with the issue.

Medical staff said Callum, who had a history of mental health issues, was taken to A&E by police at 2.30am on May 5, after expressing fears someone was chasing him.

The inquest heard he told staff he had taken MDMA and other drugs but was uncertain how much, and hadn’t slept in four days.

He was assessed and mental health nurse Jane Callis said in a statement, “He was on a drugs binge. He said he was aware they don’t do him any good.

“He was pleasant and polite. I had no concerns about his mental health or state of mind that morning.”

But later that morning police had to be called as Callum was reported to have locked himself in a toilet and was then seen running around A&E.

The inquest heard an off duty officer, Thomas Humphries, helped hospital security worker Dominic James detain him before officers arrived. He was escorted off the premises by police but ran away, the court heard.

A Serious Incident report found the mental health services were not asked to reassess him following this incident.

The inquest also heard a statement from witness Linda White, who was holidaying in Eastbourne at the time.

She was on the pier at around midday when she said she saw a young man wearing a life belt.

She said, “I could see him looking around strangely and felt something was not right. He ran past me saying ‘I’m going to kill myself’, I thought he was larking about.”

Minutes later she saw him climb over the railings and jump into the sea.

A lifeguard and emergency teams tried to save him but, despite their efforts, he was sadly pronounced dead at 1pm that day. A post mortem found his cause of death was drowning.

‘An awful pity’

Mr Craze said, “There had been clear deterioration in his mental state. Nobody reevaluated him. I think it’s a pity that wasn’t done.

“It’s the one lesson I would like to see learned from these tragic events. I think he jumped as part of behaviour he was exhibiting because he was heavily under the influence of drugs.

“There’s a very clear connection now that an awful lot of people in their teenage years are using stronger stuff that’s leading to psychotic tendencies. It’s an awful pity but it’s something we see all the time.”

He recorded a conclusion of misuse of drugs, saying, “It’s clear resources need to be deployed in order to deal with problems in this country. That’s the reason I have come to this conclusion.”

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