Mother's suicide note said her child drowned

The mother of a four-year-old whose body was found at the same time the woman threw herself off a cliff left a suicide note saying the girl had drowned, police said yesterday.

The message was found next to the body of Keira Madden when officers forced their way into the home she shared with her mother, Cathy.

Chaplains had tried to coax Mrs Madden, 40, away from Seven Sisters Cliff in Birling Gap, East Sussex, on Saturday afternoon but she fell to her death.

At around the same time police linked her car, which had been abandoned near by, to her home in Felpham, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, where they found the body of the little girl in a bedroom.

Sussex Police appealed for witnesses to the alleged drowning incident as they released details of the note which claimed Keira died after slipping over in the sea the previous day.

Police were unable to confirm whether Keira had drowned.

A post-mortem examination was inconclusive and officers are awaiting the results of toxicology tests to establish the cause of death.