‘Widely respected’ music industry man who fled Soviet Russia found dead at Eastbourne cliffs

Coastguard teams recovered his body
Coastguard teams recovered his body

A ‘widely respected’ figure in the music industry was found dead at the foot of Eastbourne cliffs, an inquest heard on Thursday (September 26).

Sergei Kojine decided to take his own life on the 27th anniversary of his escape from the Soviet Union, the court at Eastbourne Town Hall heard.

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The 56-year-old suffered from an aggressive terminal cancer and had just been told he would not have long to live.

His partner Anton Tasker said in a statement read at the inquest, “It’s with great sadness in my heart I have to write this.

“Sergei was widely respected. His work took him all over the world. He loved to travel, eating out, going to the cinema and the theatre, he loved the arts.

“He had such a joie de vivre. He had a wonderful spirit of everyday life and cheerful enjoyment of everything he did.”

Born in Moscow in 1963, the inquest heard Mr Kojine spoke multiple languages including English, French, German, Hebrew and Mandarin, and moved to London in 2004 where he worked his way up to become a business development manager at Universal Music.

Earlier this year he passed a teaching English as a foreign language course at King’s College in London. In an online tribute, the university said, “He will be sorely missed by all of us who knew and studied alongside him.”

Just days before his death, Mr Kojine’s partner said they had a “usual conversation” and there was no indication his partner was upset.

He said, “We had just returned from a break to Belgium, he was extremely happy and we had a fantastic time.

“He was a very private person, didn’t ask for help or support. He never discussed his health with me.”

Mr Kojine had travelled from his home in New Road, London, to Eastbourne where he left a note in a hotel room before going to Beachy Head.

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In a rare move, coroner Christopher Wilkinson decided to read sections of the note at the inquest.

In the note, Mr Kojine revealed to his partner he had been suffering an advanced stage of cancer and his condition was deteriorating.

He said he did not want to end his life suffering in hospital and had made the decision to come to Eastbourne.

The day of his death, June 1 this year, marked the day he had escaped from Soviet Russia in 1992.

The inquest heard from doctors who confirmed Mr Kojine suffered a malignant melanoma which had spread to several parts of his body. Though he had been receiving treatment, on May 31 the inquest heard he had called doctors and said he did not want to continue with this. He was told he would only have a short time to live.

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Mr Kojine was seen sat on the clifftop by tourists at Beachy Head and later seen to fall. His body was recovered by coastguard teams.

The coroner said, “It’s clear to me he was a very talented and capable individual. He was travelled, had specific interests in world history, cultures, religion and music.

“He was widely respected as a result of that and all the other accomplishments he had achieved. He was fiercely independent and very clear in relation to his own mind.

“Despite dedicated treatment he suffered an increase in that disease, a very aggressive cancer spread throughout his body.

“It was clear that was going to be the cause of his death. That was not something he could tolerate and made the conscious decision to bring about the end of his life on his terms.”

Mr Wilkinson reached a conclusion of suicide, and paid his respects 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.