A TALENTED rugby player who was found dead the morning after his 21st birthday had been "hit hard" by the pandemic, an inquest has heard.

Jon Nsangue had given no indication he would take his own life while he was a teenager, Brighton Coroner's Court was told.

But the pandemic had a major effect on his mental health and he was found dead in woodland at Jacob’s Ladder, near Manton Road.

His mother Johana Riquier issued a moving tribute to her son, who worked as a security guard at Revolution Brighton and played for Brighton Rugby Club for nearly 10 years.

She said Jon had never had any “suicidal ideation” while he was growing up but struggled with the impact of Covid-19.

“That period hit him hard,” she said, adding that he had been unable to see his friends and lockdown was affecting his work.

Jon was born in Paris and had divided his time between France and the UK after his parents split up.

The inquest was told that his mother, who lives in Hove, had been in an abusive relationship between 2010 and 2014 and this had affected her son.

She said they had a very close bond and she had become concerned about the direction his life was taking.

READ MORE: Tributes to Jon Nsangue, 21, found dead in Brighton woodland

Jon, of The Avenue, Brighton, had been studying for a hospitality qualification at City College.

He was due to return to the college on a media course in late 2021.

“He really enjoyed making video content,” his mother said in the statement. “Sadly he died before he could take up that course.”

Jon was found dead by a dog walker in August 2021. At the time, Sussex Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death. 


The Argus: Jon Nsangue

An Instagram post written by his mother following his death was inundated with hundreds of people commenting and paying their respects.

Among the well-wishers was Brighton rapper Arrdee, who said: “Clean hearted brother. Rest in paradise Jon.”

Following his death, a JustGiving page was set up to raise money to cover the cost of his funeral, while Brighton Rugby club issued a statement remembering their teammate.

It read: “It is with a heavy heart that the Club have been informed that club member and player Jon Nsangue died last night on his 21st birthday.

“Our deepest sympathy and thoughts are with his family and friends.”

A statement written on the fundraising site read: “Anyone who knew Jonny will know how kind of a soul he was.

“You could not meet a happier, more vibrant guy. Always laughing and joking and lifting the spirits of everyone around him.”

Sarah Clarke, the assistant coroner for Brighton and Hove, adjourned the inquest until a later date.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, contact The Samaritans on 116 123 or visit https://www.samaritans.org