Budleigh cliff-fall woman’s death ruled a ‘mystery’ by coroner

PUBLISHED: 12:30 07 April 2016 | UPDATED: 13:25 07 April 2016

County Hall in Exeter.

County Hall in Exeter.


The death of a woman, whose body was found below the cliffs near Budleigh beach, was described as a ‘mystery’ by a coroner at an inquest.

Jayne Brocklehurst, 48, had been living at her parents’ house in West Hill when she went missing on Sunday, August 9, last year.

Her body was found among brambles below the cliffs near Steamer Steps on August 14.

The deputy coroner for Exeter and Devon, John Tomalin, recorded a narrative verdict and said he could not be sure Miss Brocklehurst had intended to kill herself.

He said: “We’re left with something of a mystery. Jayne left the house, Jayne was then found and the injuries she sustained were consistent with a fall.

“My feeling is that there is not the strength of evidence to support a conclusion of suicide. I am recording a short narrative conclusion.”

A post mortem report stated that Miss Brocklehurst had died from multiple chest injuries, consistent with a fall.

Miss Brocklehurst was last seen on Saturday, August 8, and following a search by family, she was reported missing the next day.

The inquest heard how a member of the public, Sarah Robinson, had seen a woman matching Jayne’s description on Budleigh beach at around 11pm on Sunday, August 9.

Afterwards, she called police who showed her a picture of Jayne, but she could not recognise her from the woman she saw on the beach.

Five days later, she received a phone call from her husband, David Robinson, who had been picking blackberries below the cliffs.

He confirmed that he and their dogs had discovered a body in the brambles and Sarah phoned the police.

The inquest heard how Miss Brocklehurst had been working in the marketing department of a business school in France.

Miss Brocklehurst had been having problems at work and was suffering with anxiety, for which doctors in France prescribed St John’s Wort.

She travel back to England to be with her family and, while living in Budleigh Salterton, she was prescribed anti-depressants.

The inquest heard how Miss Brocklehurst had talked to her father, David, and one of her brothers about suicide, but had said she could not go through with it.

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