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'The whole world crashed around her in a couple of hours': Devoted mother, 81, and son killed themselves by jumping off Beachy Head after he was arrested for possessing child pornThe bodies of Elizabeth Gosling and
58-year-old Christopher Gosling were retrieved from the base of Beachy
HeadMr Gosling had been arrested on suspicion of possessing child abuse pictures two days before they died 'They were totally devoted to each other' said a relative of the pair
20:47 GMT, 18 December 2012
A man and his 'totally devoted' mother killed themselves by jumping off a cliff at a renowned suicide spot just days after he was arrested on suspicion of possessing child abuse pictures.
The bodies of Elizabeth Gosling, 81, and 58-year-old Christopher Gosling were retrieved from the base of Beachy Head, near Eastbourne, East Sussex, on March 21.
Two days before they died, Mr Gosling had been arrested on suspicion of possessing child abuse pictures. He had been freed on police bail pending further inquiries.
Close: Christopher Gosling, left, and his 'totally devoted' mother Elizabeth Gosling, right, killed themselves by jumping off a cliff at a renowned suicide spot just days after Mr Gosling was arrested on suspicion of possessing child abuse pictures
Josephine Carroll, the niece of Mrs Gosling, who was known as Betty, told an inquest at Eastbourne that the mother and son were very close.
She said that in recent years, Mr Gosling had been suffering personal problems which she believed had led to him suffering from depression.
She said: 'All was not well with Christopher, he may have been suffering from some sort of depression.
'He was out of work for a bit because of sickness and he’d been having problems with one particular person at work, Betty indicated he may have been bullied.'
The inquest heard that Mr Gosling, who worked as an information change manager for NHS Wales had been in discussion about a possible change in his position in the days before his death.
But he had sent a hand-written letter of resignation to his employer dated March 20.
Grim: The bodies of Elizabeth Gosling, 81, and 58-year-old Christopher Gosling were retrieved from the base of Beachy Head, near Eastbourne, East Sussex, on March 21
HR officer Vicki Harris said that management had been 'surprised' to receive the letter and the inquest also heard that Mr Gosling was financially 'comfortable'.
Mrs Carroll continued: 'He never married, had no children.
'He was an only child, his mother idolised him, they were very happy living together.
'He was a very polite and politically-correct type of person. They were totally devoted to each other.'
She said that Mrs Gosling, a retired secretary who was born in Cobh, Ireland, had been a healthy, happy person who had a close group of friends in Cardiff.
The inquest heard that her husband, Herbert, a retired administrator, died in 2010.
Mrs Carroll added: 'I couldn’t see Betty doing anything like suicide unless something catastrophic had happened and something catastrophic had happened.
'I could see Betty taking this course of action if she thought her son was likely to be punished, she had no-one else apart from him.'
She said that she believed her aunt had acted voluntarily because her cousin was a non-violent person and they had driven together from Cardiff to Beachy Head.
She added: 'I would have thought for her there was no life without Christopher or if he had been imprisoned there would be no life for her.
Evidence: Mrs Josephine Carroll, niece of Elizabeth Gosling, second from right, leaves the inquest, with family members
'It’s very tragic.'
She added that following her son’s arrest: 'The whole world crashed around her in a couple of hours.'
The inquest heard that the pair, from Cardiff, arrived at the Courtlands Hotel on the evening before and took rooms for the night.
Owner Sandeed Bawa described how they came down together in the morning and Mrs Gosling stopped to talk to her while Mr Gosling left to go straight to his Vauxhall Vectra car which was later found parked at the cliff-top.
Ms Bawa said: 'He was very edgy, he just walked straight out, it was the mother who was talking to me most of the time.'
The inquest heard that Coastguard officer Stuart McNab spotted the two bodies at the foot of the cliffs and initiated their recovery by a cliff rescue team.
Post mortem examinations showed that both mother and son died of multiple injuries and neither had alcohol or drugs in their bodies.
The inquest heard the Mr Gosling’s police bail notice following his arrest was found in his car following his death.
Detective Sergeant David Tye, of Sussex Police, said that Mr Gosling had made 'substantial admissions' during his interview with South Wales Police.
Mr Tye said that a risk assessment was carried out when Mr Gosling was released on bail and he was not considered to be a danger to himself.
Notorious: Signs advertising the phone number for the Samaritans are posted yards from the cliff edge and members of the Beachy Head Chaplaincy Team have carried out regular patrols since 2004
He said that there was no evidence that Mrs Gosling had been coerced into joining her son.
He said: 'She would have felt life was unbearable, there’s also the inter-dependence they had.'
Alan Craze, coroner for East Sussex, ruled that both mother and son committed suicide.
He said: 'I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Christopher took his own life.
'If that’s the case I can have no doubt that his mother took her own life.
'She was an entirely willing participant, it’s dreadful to think about but that’s what I think it was.'
The case was referred by South Wales Police to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
Mr Craze asked for South Wales Police to be made aware of his concerns of how suspects are assessed when released on bail.
The 530ft (161.5m) chalk cliffs at Beachy Head, at the eastern end of the South Downs National Park, have long been a magnet for people wishing to end their lives.
Signs advertising the phone number for the Samaritans are posted yards from the cliff edge and members of the Beachy Head Chaplaincy Team have carried out regular patrols since 2004.
For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or click here for details