Polegate civil servant dies at cliffs near Eastbourne

A 59-year-old man from Polegate drove off the cliffs near Eastbourne last year, an inquest heard.

The inquest at Eastbourne Town Hall on Thursday (May 26) heard Peter Scovell, a valuation officer from Brown Jack Avenue in Polegate, was found dead at the bottom of Beachy Head on December 17.

Sussex Police said a witness saw a vehicle being driven off the cliffs and officers were called to the scene where Mr Scovell was confirmed dead.

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Antoinette Richardson from NHS organisation Health In Mind said Mr Scovell referred himself to the service in April 2021.

Eastbourne Town Hall (Photo by Jon Rigby)

They said he was placed on the 'living with stress' course from June-July and regularly had 1-2-1 calls after each session.

The inquest heard he found the course 'helpful' and despite 1-2-1 support being offered, he did not choose to take it and discharged from the service in July.

A serious incident report from the Sussex Partnership NHS Trust said Mr Scovell suffered with 'low confidence and persistent anxiety' for most of his adult life, but this had worsened in the last two years due to his father's recent death and his mother becoming ill.

Despite this, he was 'consistently assessed as low risk' and the report couldn't find a root cause to explain Mr Scovell's actions, the inquest heard.

East Sussex coroner Fiona King ruled Mr Scovell took his own life.

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.

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