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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 November, 2003, 20:20 GMT
Men 'died in suicide pact'
Beachy Head
The pair were seen jumping over the cliff edge by walkers
Two men who were being cared for by the same mental health hospital jumped to their deaths together, an inquest has heard.

Christopher Jost, 27, a former painter and decorator, and 43-year-old Kenneth Hall, died after leaping from Beachy Head in East Sussex on 18 April.

The men were both being treated at St James's Hospital in Portsmouth for severe mental health problems, an inquest in Eastbourne heard.

They were spotted jumping to their deaths within seconds of each other by a couple walking on the cliffs.

There can be no doubt about their intentions
East Sussex coroner Alan Craze

The inquest heard that on the day of his death Mr Hall had told nurses at St James's Hospital he was thinking of jumping off Beachy Head and was going to meet Mr Jost.

Despite nurses' concerns, Mr Hall left the hospital and met up with Mr Jost, an in-patient at the hospital, before the pair made the two-hour journey to Beachy Head.

Staff nurse Lynn Butt said she believed Mr Hall's mood had improved when he left but she warned senior staff about his comments and rang Mr Jost's ward.

Pacts 'very rare'

Staff caring for Mr Jost told East Sussex coroner Alan Craze they had not been concerned because he had shown no signs of suicidal intentions.

Mr Craze said senior staff at the hospital should have been clearer when passing on Mr Hall's comments to Mr Jost's carers.

He said: "Suicide pacts are very rare.

"When you get a pact involving two people who are under the care of the same hospital, then that must make it rarer still. But there can be no doubt about their intentions.

"The only verdict in each case is suicide."




SEE ALSO:
Surfing for suicide
15 Nov 03  |  Health
Couple die in 'suicide pact'
22 Oct 03  |  Wear
Doctors oppose assisted suicide
13 May 03  |  Health



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