Tragic clifftop fall led to young chef’s death

Adam Sykes who died in Whitby after falling from a cliff
Adam Sykes who died in Whitby after falling from a cliff

A CORONER has ruled out suicide in the case of a troubled young man who fell to his death from cliff tops in Whitby.

Adam Sykes was found on the beach near the battery parade by early morning dog walkers on Sunday 11 December.

He had a history of mental health problems, and was sectioned under the Mental Health Act in August, 2011.

Adam had been seeking treatment for his problems, exacerbated by his use of cannabis.

An inquest heard in the weeks prior to his death he had made a significant improvement and was looking to buy a car and get a job.

Coroner John Bainbridge, recorded an open verdict and said: “I am not at all satisfied that Adam took a run and jump and projected himself over the edge of the cliff.

“I certainly find that the position of the body at the base is more consistent with a fall from the top or half way up but there is nothing that points to any deliberate act.”

Chef, Adam, originally from the Huddersfield area, had come to live in Whitby with his mother Maureen and stepfather Brian Craven in Autumn 2010.

He had been using cannabis on a regular basis for almost three years prior to that which caused him to become withdrawn and lacking motivation and there was further deterioration in his mental health when he split up with his long term girlfriend.

Dr Taylor said: “There did seem to be a positive link between his use of cannabis and developing psychosis. It is fairly common, I think it depends on your genetic pre-disposition.

“I was first asked to see Adam in July 2011 - he was psychotic at the time, experiencing hallucinations and illusions.”

Adam claimed he could hear the thoughts of others, voices of small children and feeling people’s thoughts inside him.

It left him feeling sick and suffering chest pains but he was reluctant to take medication.

He tried to find his own answers and went travelling around the country but when he returned had deteriorated and was detained under the Act.

Adam eventually agreed to a small amount of medication which “dramatically improved” his mental state.

He was seen regularly by doctors and in September was discharged and spoke of being “embarrassed” by his use of cannabis.

At no point during Adam’s contact with the mental health teams did they consider him to be suicidal.

After a dip in October, Adam picked up and talked about wanting to work with animals, had contacted housing services about accommodation and a savings account and experts had discussed reducing his medication in the new year.

Dr Taylor broke down in tears at the inquest when she recalled being told of Adam’s death.

She said: “I was very shocked. I have said to Adam’s mother and other people who have asked, of all the people on my case list Adam would be the one person I would not have imagined hearing that news about.”

His mum Maureen told the court she fully believed he intended to come back. He had left a note asking her not to turn off his computer because he was downloading a film he wanted to watch when he got back, had left a book open and had made the family a Christmas cake he was going to ice on the Sunday.

She added: “At the end of the day, I know that nobody actually knows what happened.

“If I had thought for a second he was in the frame of mind he was going to harm himself I would not have let him go.”