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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 September, 2004, 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK
Suicide rescue 'sign from wife'
Maggie Lane
An inquest into Maggie Lane's death recorded an open verdict
A man who saved a suicidal woman from jumping off Beachy Head believes he received a sign from his wife, who died at the same spot a week before.

Maggie Lane died at the beginning of March after falling from the notorious suicide spot near Eastbourne.

Her husband Keith, who has just received a bravery award, said a week before her death, Maggie dreamt they had jumped over the cliff hand in hand.

Mr Lane, a window cleaner from Eastbourne, said when he tackled the suicidal woman to the ground near the cliff edge, she told him to jump with her.

Mr Lane, who has set up a charity in his wife's name to fund 24-hour patrols at Beachy Head, said he had gone to the cliff top to grieve for his wife a week after she died.

He said: "I went back up because I was trying to come to terms with it because obviously it was quite a tragedy.

It was just such a gut reaction - either you react or you don't
Keith Lane
"It was very early in the morning and all of a sudden I saw this lady up here writing a note.

"So I approached her and asked her if was she contemplating and she just told me to leave her alone.

"But I said 'I can't do that' and I started crying because I could see a bit of deja vu. "She started to run for the edge, so I just instinctively ran after her and we got to within about 15 or 20ft to the edge and I rugby-tackled her and just clung on.

"The weird thing is, a week before my wife died she had a dream.

"She told me that she dreamt that she and I went over hand in hand.

Keith Lane

"And while I was grappling with this woman she turned to me and said 'let's go hand in hand' and I could not believe it was happening to me."

Mr Lane said he clung on to the woman until the police arrived and then went with her to the police station to make sure she was all right.

"I believe it was a sign from my late wife Maggie - I believe I was meant to be there.

"Afterwards I felt very low because I felt why was there not someone there to save my wife? If someone had been up here then she would still be alive."

'Driving me on'

An open verdict was recorded by the coroner at the inquest into Mrs Lane's death so it was not determined whether or not she committed suicide.

Mr Lane said: "The charity has given me a focus because it is so difficult to deal with a bereavement of this type.

"There is such a void because you don't know exactly what has happened.

"So what this charity has done is to make me concentrate on something and I do believe it is Maggie that is pushing me along - she is inspiring me.

"Now she has gone I know she wants to me to carry on get this charity up and running and she is driving me on.

"Out of death comes life and that is the only way I can look at it - she lives on in spirit and I draw from that."

On Wednesday, Mr Lane was awarded a Royal Humane Society Award to recognise his bravery in saving the woman, after he was nominated by Sussex Police.

But he said he did not even stop to think whether to help her.

He said: "It was just such a gut reaction - either you react or you don't.

"I think if she (Maggie) could be here now she would be very proud."

Mr Lane is setting up the Maggie Lane Charity to help fund chaplains at Beachy Head and increase their patrols to 24 hours a day.

On the edge with cliff rescue
09 Feb 04  |  Southern Counties
Patrols begin at suicide cliffs
22 Aug 04  |  Southern Counties

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