A 21-year-old Eltham business student whose body was found on a South Coast beach most likely died because of suicide or an accident, a coroner has said.

Sussex Police has been subjected to criticism that it had not investigated fully the death of Blessing Olusegun, who lived on Middle Park Avenue, after she was found dead at Bexhill, East Sussex, on September 18, 2020.

A petition attracted thousands of signatures calling on the police force to ensure it properly investigated her death.

At a pre-inquest review hearing held in Hastings, Coroner Alan Craze said: “There are four possible causes of death: natural causes, foul play, accident and suicide.

News Shopper: Blessing OlusegunBlessing Olusegun

“At the end of the day, I am probably going to find that there is insufficient evidence pointing towards natural causes or murder.

“This would leave two of them, suicide and accident, because that is the view the police took and it’s more likely to be an accident than a suicide.”

Mr Craze adjourned the inquest for a full hearing to be held on a date to be fixed.

Detective Inspector Pippa Nicklin, the senior investigating officer, released a statement in March defending Sussex Police’s investigation.

She said: “Although there continues to be no evidence of a crime we are still carefully and fully examining all the circumstances leading up to Blessing’s death, from her arrival in Bexhill, to her leaving the house where she was working and walking to the beach.

“It has been reported that we have not properly investigated Blessing’s death because of her ethnicity and we strongly refute these claims.”

A force spokesman said that Ms Olusegun had spent a week in Bexhill working as a carer.

Following the discovery of her body, officers began an investigation and Ms Olusegun’s mother was informed of her death.

The spokesman said the police investigation included a search of the area where Ms Olusegun was found which located her phone and her slippers.

Local enquiries were also carried out including interviews with those who had last seen or spoken with Ms Olusegun.

Officers also searched her home at her work placement and carried out forensic examinations of her devices and belongings found on the beach.

CCTV was also examined which the spokesman said revealed that she was alone at the time she entered the beach with no evidence of others in the vicinity.

The spokesman added: “Toxicology tests and a medical examination was carried out by a pathologist who found Blessing had died from drowning; they found no evidence of violence or any internal or external injuries.

“Because there is no evidence of third party involvement, Blessing’s death is described as ‘non suspicious’.

“The coroner will decide on the facts of the case and determine how, when and where Blessing died.”

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