Tributes have been paid to a ‘extremely popular’, ‘happy and cheery’ flight attendant who died after falling from Seaford Head.
Charles Taylor, 27, was loved by many but hid his problems ‘behind his smiling face’, an inquest at Eastbourne Town Hall heard today (December 13).
The court heard the EasyJet attendant, of Seaford, loved to travel – especially to New York and Australia, where he planned to live one day with his long-term partner Martin Kiss.
Martin said in a statement, “He was very happy and cheery, very popular, had thousands of friends and was always there for everybody else.
“I knew he had problems but he always hid this behind his smiling face.”
The inquest heard how Charles struggled with drinking and was hiding this from his loved ones.
Martin, who lived with Charles in Crouchfield Close, Seaford, said he started finding empty bottles of vodka and gin in his partner’s room.
On the day of his death on June 23 this year, Martin said, “I gave him a kiss, told him I couldn’t wait to see him that evening.”
But when he returned home from work that day Charles was not there.
His body was spotted in the waters near Splash Point by a member of the public who had been taking photos around 9pm that evening.
The post mortem found his cause of death to be drowning following multiple injuries from a fall and that he had been drinking heavily.
A toxicology report found he had 323mg of alcohol to every 100ml of blood – four times the drink driving limit. This would be consistent with ‘extreme drunkenness’, it said.
Charles’ parents Sandra and Stephen Taylor said in a statement he had a ‘strong outwardly bubbly’ personality, and appeared much happier when he met Martin.
He had a ‘massive circle of friends’ and was ‘extremely popular’ at work, they said, and EasyJet have now named a plane after him. Around 250 people attended his funeral, the inquest heard.
However his parents said Charles suffered with an eating disorder brought on by anxiety, and had an ‘irrational fear of losing the good things in his life’ – like Martin.
His parents said he was in a ‘vicious cycle’ of drinking, but said they believed his final actions were a ‘cry for help that went wrong’ and he may have fallen from the cliff by accident.
Coroner Alan Craze told the inquest suicide must be proven and said, “There’s no evidence that proves a deliberate jump, and there’s no evidence he stumbled.”
He recorded an open conclusion and expressed his sympathies to the family.
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.