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Sunny Sands death: Glenn Kell, 50, drowned after 'walking into the sea', inquest heard

By Victoria Chessum

A man with a long history of mental health problems drowned after walking into the sea, an inquest heard.

Glenn Kell, 50, of Foord Road South in Folkestone, was found dead at Sunny Sands beach on Monday, May 9.

Mr Kell was seen by several witnesses who thought he was enjoying a swim on a warm spring morning.

Police officers conducted their inquiries before the tide came in
Police officers conducted their inquiries before the tide came in

Acting Det Sgt Lewis Tompsett said his body was found at 9am and the police were called by a witness.

“She explained in her evidence that it was a sunny day and didn’t think anymore of it at the time,” Sgt Tompsett said.

“It wasn’t until an hour later that she noticed a body had been washed up.

“There were quite a few people working on the sands and he was seen walking out into the sea but they couldn’t see the man’s lower half.

“No one was aware of any other persons in the sea at that time.”

Police officers at the beach after Mr Kell's body was found
Police officers at the beach after Mr Kell's body was found

Mr Kell was given first aid but there was no sign of life, the inquest was told.

Police officers searched the concrete arches at the beach before the water came in. They noticed footprints under one of them, consistent with the shoes Mr Kell was wearing.

One witness took a picture of the coastline but it wasn’t until she heard the news of a man’s death that she had captured Mr Kell in the photo.

In Sgt Tompsett’s report, he said that Mr Kell had phoned 999 several times in the two days leading up to his death, often coming across as confused.

He also went to the accident and emergency department at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford after taking cocaine.

Glenn Kell was 50 and lived in Folkestone
Glenn Kell was 50 and lived in Folkestone

The police attempted to visit Mr Kell after concern for his welfare on the Sunday at 9am but he was not home as he was at the hospital. A second visit was planned but never went ahead.

Sgt Tompsett could not explain the reasons why but said that the matter had been passed to the professional standards department.

Mr Kell had not been seen by the mental health team since December 31 last year, the inquest heard.

A post mortem report showed that Mr Kell had traces of cannabis and cocaine in his system but concluded that the cause of death was drowning.

Assistant coroner Christine Freedman said: “There were opportunities for intervention by the police and the mental health team.

'There were opportunities for intervention by the police and the mental health team' - Assistant coroner Christine Freedman

"What I have to consider is whether this would have made any difference.

“But he could have dropped off the radar again, we just don’t know.

“He was clearly in some distress the day before and may or may not have taken the drugs at some point over the weekend.

“He was seen walking into the sea, there is no doubt about that.

“This was a deliberate action but there is nothing from the scene to suggest it was suicide and he had never threatened to harm himself.

“He was responsible for taking his own life but I can’t say if that is what he intended to do.”

Mrs Freedman recorded a narrative verdict, summarised as “taking his own life while he was suffering from mental health.”

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