A FORMER teacher and “gifted” linguist committed suicide by falling from a cliff top.

Sarah Berridge, 59, of Bates Road, Brighton, fell to her death from the top of cliffs at Beachy Head, near Eastbourne, at around 11am on Saturday, May 13.

Her body was recovered from the foot of the cliffs later the same day.

An inquest into her death at Eastbourne Town Hall on Thursday heard that Mrs Berridge was seen at the edge of the cliff by a volunteer for the Beachy Head Chaplaincy Team, a charity which has been patrolling the cliffs since 2004 to help people in distress.

Roger Cook, who is now retired from the chaplaincy team, said: “I noticed a person on the cliff edge at approximately 10.55am.

“I tried to engage with her and she told me she was fine and her name was Sarah.

“She said she was reflecting on things.

“She told me to go away and proceeded to lay down on the cliff edge so I asked a colleague to call 999.

“I tried to engage with her again.

“She then turned and rolled over the cliff edge.”

He said that police arrived at around 11.15am.

Mrs Berridge was being treated for depression and anxiety, as well as an aneurysm, in the years leading up to her death, as documented by her GP Dr Elizabeth Green.

The inquest heard that Mrs Berridge attempted to take her own life in January and had planned it for a few months.

After counselling sessions and meetings with psychologists following the failed suicide attempt, specialists said they did not have much cause for concern about Mrs Berridge trying to commit suicide again.

Alex Botham, who had meetings with her as a social worker at Mill View Hospital in Hove, said: “She started to re-engage in family therapy because she found it useful.

“Sarah scored borderline in a test of depression.

“She wasn’t giving me any cause for concern at those meetings.”

Clinical psychologist Elizabeth Mason, who looked after Mrs Berridge from February 20 to March 31, said: “We were very aware of the risk and her history.

“Our feeling was she was talking about feeling distant from the idea of suicide.

“She was becoming more connected with the awareness of the bad impact it would have on family.”

PC Daniel Prentice delivered the news of Mrs Berridge’s death to her husband Mark that evening.

Coroner Alan Craze recorded her death as suicide, caused by multiple injuries.