Woman ‘bottled up’ work anxiety before Bexhill suicide

Sheila Davis was found dead on the beach below Galley Hill in Bexhill in February
Sheila Davis was found dead on the beach below Galley Hill in Bexhill in February

The woman found dead on Bexhill beach killed herself after ‘bottling up’ her depression and anxiety about work, a court heard today (Tuesday, June 14).

Sheila Davis, of Cricketers Close, Ashington, West Sussex, was found dead on the beach below Galley Hill by a dog walker at around 7am on February 12.

The 54-year-old office manager wrote in her suicide letter she was worried she had let everyone down at work despite her colleagues valuing her and showing no signs of depression.

Coroner Alan Craze concluded Sheila had took her own life and the suicide note made it clear at Hastings Coroners’ Court.

“She seemed a better listener than a talker and one of those people who bottles things up a bit and won’t share problems,” he said.

Sheila was last seen leaving work at 5pm on February 11, and was seen by police cameras on the A27 near Lewes and in Eastbourne.

The dog walker found Sheila’s body on the beach and she was declared dead by paramedics.

Toxicologist Andrew Smith said Sheila’s blood alcohol levels were very high, and she had more than 10 times the amount of paracetamol in her system than usual, suggesting an attempted overdose but Mr Craze said it would not have been enough to kill her.

Her clothes were sodden and she had shingle in her pockets, consistent with being in the water.

Rigor mortis had not set in suggesting she died in the early hours of the morning.

Officers found her car nearby which contained the handwritten note to her husband Malcolm, explaining her anxiety about work.

Sheila’s HR lead Carl Jones said in a statement she was a ‘core’ member of staff who ‘helped build the business to what it is today’.

Mr Davis said in his statement to the coroner Sheila had made comments about the volume of work but they were dismissed.

Alex Dewdney, Sheila’s GP at Steyning Health Centre said in a statement there had been no signs of mental illness.

Sheila and her husband were big Tottenham Hotspur Football Club fans and had plans to go to the Spurs vs Crystal Palace FA Cup game the following weekend as well as an Easter break to Bournemouth.

“It’s very sad indeed as there’s no question in her past medical history of any depression but it’s clear in my own mind she was suffering from serious depression,” Mr Craze said.

“And it’s sad if that’s the case, if she hadn’t felt able to share it with her husband or other professionals who may have been able to help.”

• If you have been affected by anything in this article or for confidential support, call the Samaritans free 24 hours a day on 116 123.

Body found on Bexhill beach identified

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