A former Birmingham student was found on a remote beach in North Devon after disappearing.
An inquest into the death of Edward Ball, aged 37, heard he was discovered during a helicopter search after vanishing.
The 37-year-old disappeared near Sillery Sands in Lynmouth in October of last year.
He was found the following day, having fallen from a height.
Our sister title DevonLive reports he struggled with his mental health for much of his life.
Edward’s grieving mum, Christine, paid tribute at the inquest, saying: “Edward was a sensitive lad and would isolate himself from people. I would describe him as innocent and not worldly wise.”
He studied history at Birmingham University and graduated in 2004. Prior to his graduation he was mugged by six youths which was said to have affected him greatly.
Mrs Ball recalled: “He stopped going out in the evenings, and only concentrated on his studies. By the time we collected him from Birmingham that summer he was an education wreck. He had neglected himself personally and had generally not looked after himself.”
Edward was finally diagnosed with Asperger syndrome when he was about 30 years old.
His mother told how they had helped him buy his own flat in Taunton which is where she last saw him alive on October 3, 2019.
“He had been talking about death and dying recently, and planning something,” she said.
“I tried to talk some sense into him, but I had no idea how things would develop.”
The next day she was informed he had not turned up at work and after going to his flat and seeing he had left his wallet there and his car was gone, she reported him missing to the police.
She said: “He was a lonely young man and I feel that he found being an adult was too much to cope with. He had suicidal tendencies, and I feel Edward took his own life.”
Police located Mr Ball’s vehicle on October 5, 2019, in a car park in Sillery Sands with a parking ticket on it from the previous day.
The RNLI were asked to help with the search and his body was located by a helicopter at 11.30am on a remote beach which can not be accessed by foot.
A police investigation confirmed there were no suspicious circumstances. No suicide note was found.
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Mr Ball’s GP, Dr Stanley, told in a statement how he was initially diagnosed with personality disorder in 2006, the same year in which he also developed episodes of psychosis.
In 2013 and 2014, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and Asperger’s syndrome.
Dr Stanley said: “He had a complicated mental health history which evolved over the years.”
He continued: “Edward clearly had significant mental health problems which seem to have been exacerbated by his father’s terminal illness, and may have contributed to him deciding to take his own life.”
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Coroner Philip Spinney said: “The circumstances in which he came to fall are not known.
“While it is possible Mr Ball travelled to North Devon with the intention of ending his life, I am not satisfied that was his intention on the basis of the evidence I have heard.
“I can’t rule out the possibility that Mr Ball accidentally fell from the cliff.”
Recording a narrative conclusion, he said: “He died from injuries sustained from a fall from height.”