The inquest at Crawley Coroners Court yesterday was told that Mrs Staples, who had previously taken three overdoses and was being treated for depression, died from severe multiple injuries after jumping off the cliff on 6 June. The coroner Alan Craze, recording a verdict of suicide, said: "It's absolutely trite and easy for me to say that, with the benefit of hindsight, the decision to go to Beachy Head would not have been taken."
June Mace, who works for East Sussex County Council's social services department said she was unaware that Janine Staples, a 36-year-old care in the community patient, was a suicide risk when she let her go for a walk close to the 500ft cliffs at Beachy Head, near Eastbourne. Mrs Mace told the inquest how she had met with Mrs Staples on four occasions as part of her care. "At the time I was dealing with Janine, the information I had was that she was considered to be low risk," she said. Before she jumped to her death, Mrs Staples kissed Mrs Mace and thanked her for being her friend.
East Sussex social services department released a statement after the inquest saying it had learned a vital lesson from the tragic suicide. It said: "In this case there were no outward signs of suicidal behaviour. On the day of the incident she appeared to be positive and was talking about the future in an optimistic manner."
After the inquest, Mrs Staples' mother, Margaret Lee, said her daughter had been betrayed by the system. "It was a stupid thing to do. We do not think the care worker was trained for the job. I do not think she realised how poorly Janine was. We will seek legal advice."