A woman jumped to her death from the roof of a seafront hotel seconds after taking photographs of the view, an inquest heard.

Artist Lucille Smyth, 57, climbed over security railings on the seventh floor of the Hilton Brighton Metropole, in Kings Road, and jumped, landing on the roof of the Steamers Bar below. She died of multiple injuries.

Mrs Smyth, who had a history of psychiatric problems and suffered anxiety and depression, had given no indication she intended to kill herself.

The inquest heard she had asked a friend, hotel porter Peter Innes, to take her on to the hotel roof on July 24 so she could take photographs and later sketch the pictures.

Mr Innes, of Godwin Road, Hove, told the hearing Mrs Smyth had been upset at having to sell her flat in Montpelier Road, Brighton, for financial reasons.

But he said on that day she had seemed happy and had taken many photographs. He said: "She seemed quite chirpy. She was talking all the time. It was a nice clear day. She took loads of photographs. She asked me to take one of her and I took one with the West Pier in the background."

When he decided it was time to go back inside the hotel she did not follow him. When he turned round to see where she was he saw her climbing over the railings.

He said: "I thought she was messing around. I went looking for her on the floor below. I could not understand what had happened."

Two residents living in Metropole Court, a block of flats next to the hotel, told how they watched Mrs Smyth, a former teacher, calmly climb over the railings before disappearing over the edge.

The inquest heard Brighton and Hove Council's environmental health department had launched an investigation following Mrs Smyth's death.

The hotel took immediate steps to prevent a similar incident happening. The area of the roof is used as a fire escape and the hotel is currently investigating further safety measures.

Brighton and Hove coroner Veronica Hamilton-Deeley recorded a verdict of suicide.

She said: "I know her death came as a terrible shock to the people who knew her well. "It is quite clear the hotel acted entirely appropriately, immediately taking the steps necessary to prevent something like this happening again."