Only two possible causes of Blessing Olusegun’s death on Bexhill beach, says coroner

The family of a young woman found dead in Bexhill will question police over the investigation into her death at an inquest.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 10:14 am
Blessing Ayomide Adetutu Olusegun's body was found on a Bexhill beach on September 18 last year. SUS-210315-104502001

Blessing Olusegun,21, was found near Galley Hill early in the morning on September 18 2020.

Sussex Police deemed her death as non-suspicious and campaigners have called for it to launch a full investigation to determine what happened to her.

Blessing’s family and friends have fought for answers with more than 55,000 people signing an online petition on Change.org, called Justice4Blessing.

A pre-inquest review was held last Tuesday (September 14).

At the hearing, coroner Alan Craze said there were four possible causes of death:‘natural causes, foul play, accident and suicide’.

He said that he was ‘probably’ going to find ‘insufficient’ evidence pointing towards natural causes or murder.

This would leave two causes, death by suicide or accidental death, he said.

Esther Abe, Blessing’s mother, was at the pre-inquest review.

Blessing was found at 6.20am on Friday, September 18 last year, hours after going out for a walk.

The 21-year-old business student from South London had been on a week-long work placement in Bexhill where she was working as a carer.

According to her family, her last message was sent to a family friend at 1.25am on September 18, almost five hours before her body was found.

Her body was identified that morning and her mother was visited by Metropolitan Police officers later that day.

Sussex Police detectives attended the scene and, with no immediate evidence of a crime, the coroner was notified and a police investigation launched.

Police said a search of the area where Blessing was found was carried out.

Her phone and slippers ‘piled neatly’ were located 300 metres away on the beach.

In March, police said they made enquiries in the neighbourhood to identify any potential witnesses, and interviewed people who last saw or spoke with Blessing, including family and friends.

Officers searched Blessing’s room at her work placement in Bexhill and belongings found on the beach and sent them for forensic tests.

Toxicology tests and a medical examination was carried out by a pathologist who found Blessing had died from drowning. Police said the tests found no evidence of violence or any internal or external injuries.

In March a Sussex Police spokesman said: “Because there is no evidence of third party involvement, Blessing’s death is described as ‘non-suspicious’. The coroner will decide on the facts of the case and determine how, when and where Blessing died.”

Following her death, Blessing’s friend and work colleague Christiana Sofolabo described the 21-year-old as ‘beautiful, gorgeous, talented and independent’.

Senior investigating officer, Detective Inspector Pippa Nicklin, released a statement in March defending Sussex Police’s investigation.

She said: “It has been reported that we have not properly investigated Blessing’s death because of her ethnicity and we strongly refute these claims.

“We acknowledge there are a lot of people who want answers about what happened to Blessing, and we are working hard to establish the full circumstances of her death so that we can provide those answers to her mother, wider family and friends.”

The date of the full inquest into Blessing’s death has yet to be fixed.