The identity of a mystery woman found drowned on a beach has been discovered after police used her tattoos in an appeal.

The body of a young woman was found washed up on Saltdean beach near Whitecliffs Cafe by a dog walker on December 20 last year. 

Despite extensive enquiries to try to identify her, Sussex Police were unable to trace the woman and in March issued an appeal with her tattoos to try and identify her. 

In an inquest into her death at Woodvale Coroner's Court in Brighton yesterday, the court heard how police used databses and intelligence checks and also contacted local tattoo studios to no avail.

A media release was issued to help find her. In a statement read to the court, DS Rob Lewis from Sussex Police said: "We received numerous responses but a tattoo artist based in Peterborough recognised the woman's beetle tattoo as one she had done on October 1, 2022."

The Argus: Sussex Police released Ms Survilaite's tattoo pictures in a bid to identify herSussex Police released Ms Survilaite's tattoo pictures in a bid to identify her (Image: Sussex Police)

The woman was then identified as 23-year-old Dovile Survilaite, from Panevezys, Lithuania.

Ms Survilaite had disassociated from her family in the latter months of 2022, her inquest heard.

Her last contact with her mother Kristina Gedvilaite, who appeared in court by video link, was on November 13 when she told her mother not to contact her for a while. 


The court heard how Ms Gedvilaite believed her daughter had moved to Malta in October 2022.

Passport records traced by police showed Ms Survilaite had flown from Gatwick Airport to Malta on October 6, but she returned to Gatwick on November 3, unbeknownst to her family.

From bank transactions it is believed Ms Survilaite went to Brighton that same day where she stayed in hotels until her death.

After breaking contact with her family, she closed all her social media accounts and her email was inactive.

Ms Survilaite emptied her bank account, making a final transaction to Just Giving in a donation on November 29.

Police believe the pattern of behaviour leading up to her death suggest Ms Survilaite had intended to take her own life. 

The Argus: The police cordon at the beach on December 20 last yearThe police cordon at the beach on December 20 last year (Image: Public)

The court heard how the coastguard made a backtrack model of tides to work out where Ms Survilaite had entered the water, but because of the circumstances were only able to say that she originated from "further west along the coast".

Lisa Millner, assistant coroner for West Sussex, Brighton and Hove Coroner Service concluded that the cause of death was suicide by drowning.