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Ex prisoner leapt off Palace Pier weeks after release
A man deliberately flung himself backwards into the sea from Brighton's Palace Pier weeks after he was released from prison.
Neil Eaton fell into the water at 6.15pm on September 14 last year, an inquest at Lewes Crown Court was told yesterday.
Security guard Matthew Seekings jumped in after Mr Eaton and managed to get hold of the 43-year-old, dragging him onto a rescue board.
Mr Eaton was pulled ashore by RNLI crew members and given resuscitation by paramedics and police on the beach.
The inquest was told he was admitted to intensive care at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton.
Life support Life support machines were turned off at about midnight on September 16 after doctors told his sister that if he survived he was likely to be brain-damaged.
The inquest was told Mr Eaton had served a five-year prison sentence from 2005 before returning to serve a two-year sentence from 2011. He was released from jail in August 2013. The reason he was imprisoned was not revealed yesterday.
Catherine Palmer, assistant coroner for Brighton and Hove, said Mr Eaton “purposely walked over to the railings and went backwards into the sea”.
Mr Seekings, whose statement was read out in court, jumped in after him. Mr Eaton, who was two-and-a-half times over the drink-drive limit, broke part of his spine as he crashed into the sea.
Dr Jane Panteman, clinical manager at South East Coast Ambulance Service, said resuscitation attempts were made on the beach but Mr Eaton went into cardiac arrest.
Consultant pathologist Andrew Rainey said he believed Mr Eaton died “unnaturally” due to a number of factors – multiple organ failure and cardiac arrest due to the high levels of alcohol in his body and being submerged in sea water.
The inquest will continue today.
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