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Pensioner David Staddon drowned after police letters about dangerous driving allegations

By KentOnline reporter

A man drowned himself by walking into the sea after receiving a letter from police, an inquest heard.

David Staddon, of Burmarsh Road, Hythe was found dead on Princes Parade beach on September 20 last year.

The 82-year-old's body was discovered lying face down by a beach cleaner in the early morning.

Dave Staddon died after getting police letters about his driving
Dave Staddon died after getting police letters about his driving

At first, the cleaner thought he was a fisherman but after getting closer saw something was wrong and shook him asking if he was all right.

He called 999 and was advised to perform CPR before police and paramedics arrived.

Mr Staddon was pronounced dead shortly after 7am.

Later that morning, his step-daughter, who he lived with, found notes addressed to members of his family and concerning his financial affairs and funeral arrangements. She called the police.

An extract from one note read "Please, please forgive me for the actions I have taken."

A coroner's court at Archbishop's Palace in Maidstone heard that the volunteer gardener at Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, had received letters from Kent Police about his vehicle being involved in careless driving, dangerous driving, and failing to stop and report an accident.

The Archbishops Palace, where the inquest was heard
The Archbishops Palace, where the inquest was heard

After being contacted by police the widower, who enjoyed swimming in the ocean, began to talk more about his funeral plans and would talk flippantly about walking into the sea.

However, his family thought that this was due to the anniversary of his wife's death approaching and otherwise seemed happy and continue to see friends and family.

Coroner's assistant Katrina Hepburn said:"I find that these letters did cause him considerable distress. He was very worried about this such that he went to solicitors and then cancelled a holiday.

"It was something which triggered his intention to go into the water."

However, she also noted that there was nothing untoward about the letters and they were clear in that a prosecution would not necessarily follow.

Ms Hepburn concluded that the former station master's death was a suicide and extended her sympathies to members of his family who were present.

Whatever you're going through, the Samaritans can be contacted free from any phone on 116 123.

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