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Woman died after running into sea "impulsively"
A woman drowned after “impulsively” running into the sea during gale-force winds, an inquest was told.
Joanna Brown raced into the sea near the Palace Pier, Brighton, during the early hours of December 21 last year.
Despite a huge land and sea search her body was not found until 8am on December 28 by a jogger in Cuckmere Haven, near Seaford.
The inquest at Woodvale Crematorium, Brighton, yesterday was told that Miss Brown had been drinking at her friend Tracey Kemp’s home in Brighton the night she died.
Miss Brown, 36, of Hanover, Brighton, left at 11pm and went to Medusa Bar in Preston Street, Brighton, where she made friends with a group of people, including Eilja Halim.
They decided to walk to the Volks Tavern on the seafront.
In a statement read out by Mr Halim he said Miss Brown, who was upset about an ex-boyfriend, suddenly dropped her handbag and ran, fully-clothed, into the sea.
He described repeatedly attempting to grab hold of her, once managing, but a huge wave knocked them back.
Mr Halim, who waded into the water up to his waist, said: “I thought I would drown.”
He ran and got bouncers from nightclub Digital to help.
He said Miss Brown was motionless and unresponsive in waves about 25 metres from shore.
He added: “I could see Jo’s body silhouetted in the water.”
Shortly afterwards she disappeared from view.
Police, paramedics and lifeboat crews were called and a coastguard helicopter searched until the next day.
Steve Smith, from Shoreham Lifeboat, said the conditions the night Miss Brown went into the sea were terrible, with gale-force winds and “pouring and squally rain”.
“Towards the end it became a survival exercise for us, ” he admitted.
Miss Brown’s friend Ms Kemp described her as “lovely, a really good friend” and Miss Brown’s family added: “She was very special.”
Summing up, coroner Veronica Hamilton-Deeley said: “I’m satisfied she ran into the sea impulsively.”
She recorded a verdict of accidental death and added Miss Brown drowned while under the influence of alcohol.
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