Cancer led to Polegate author taking his own life

John Dyson
John Dyson

An author, former reporter, and gardener took his own life at Beachy Head, an inquest heard.

John Dyson, 77, of St John’s Road, Polegate, died on June 14 last year.

He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2004, but chose a ‘watch and wait’ approach, rather than opting for radiotherapy.

The inquest heard in the weeks before his death, Mr Dyson’s health had declined.

Mr Dyson often wrote letters to his family and friends, and his son Dominic said the tone of his father’s emails had become more serious in the last weeks of his life.

The coroner heard Mr Dyson did not want to go to hospital, and his journal revealed his plans to end his life.

The coroner, Alan Craze, recorded a verdict of suicide, at the inquest on Thursday January 22, which took place at Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court.

The inquest heard Mr Dyson was a ‘prolific writer’, and his 60th Western novel is set to be published this year.

He had a love of the ‘wild west’ which became the subject of his novels.

“He was interested in reading and writing which he did obsessively, all his life,” said his son Dominic.

He wrote for the Express’ sister paper the Eastbourne Herald in the early 1950s, joined the Brighton Argus in 1955 but retired from journalism to work alongside his father as a gardener for Langney Priory.

He retired from gardening in 2002, but continued to write novels and letters to his family and friends.

Mr Dyson was born near Brighton and lived close to the coast all his life, loving the countryside, walking and swimming, particularly near Meads and at Birling Gap.

He moved to Polegate in 1996, where he had an active social life and many friends.

Before he died, Mr Dyson wrote a letter to the Express, asking for us to review one of his books.

It was his desire that the paper publish a feature about his last novel - Bad Night At Crazy Bull, which is due to be published in Februarythis year.

He wrote to the Express: “Like 50 per cent of the population I am glad to say I am computer-illiterate.

“How fans of my work from Mexico, South America, Malaya and the island of Guam have accessed my books I have no idea.

“There’s no cash in it for me.

“But I am just glad to hear they seem to enjoy them.”