Woman killed in Eastbourne cliffs accident

The woman fell 300ft (91m) from a spot near the Belle Tout lighthouse

A woman was killed when she accidentally stepped off an East Sussex cliff while walking with her husband.

She fell 300ft (91m) from a spot near the Belle Tout lighthouse on the clifftop near Eastbourne at about 15:00 BST on Saturday.

The woman's body was found by the Eastbourne inshore lifeboat to the west of the lighthouse.

Sussex Police have ruled out suicide or foul play, and have described her death as a "tragic accident".

At the scene

The weather on the clifftop on Saturday was very wet and squally, with visibility significantly reduced.

Today I can see people standing just half a foot away from the edge of the cliff taking photographs.

People that know the area are sighing in disbelief at the scene.

But they said fences would spoil the view.

They later took away a car, believed to belong to the couple, which had been parked at the Birling Gap cafe.

Officers said the couple, who were walking their dog at the time, were not local.

A police spokesman said: "She is believed to be a 49-year-old female not from the Sussex area.

"Her husband was present at the time of the tragic accident but the death is not being treated as suspicious and no-one has been arrested and no-one is expected to be arrested.

"The coroner will be informed."

Ken Walker, who was walking near the scene of the accident on Sunday, said: "Children could just run off the cliff. There's no notice to say don't go there. It's incredible"

Geri Silverstone, spokesman for the National Trust, said: "We have hundreds of thousands of visitors to our coastline across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland and actually the incidence of this sort of tragic incident happening is thankfully very rare indeed.

"So on the whole this coastline can be enjoyed and is very safe but this is a very tragic circumstance."

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