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Former TV high-flyer fell to death from cliff

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 21, 2011

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A WOMAN who enjoyed a "high-functioning" 15-year career at the BBC fell 250ft to her death down a cliff in Cornwall, an inquest heard.

Rachel Elizabeth Eddy, 53, was a production manager with the broadcaster in Bristol and helped create programmes such as Comic Relief, Gardener's Year, Antiques Inspectors and Bear Grylls' Mission Everest programme.

The court heard that five years before her death on February 16 this year, Miss Eddy accepted voluntary redundancy from the BBC but later regretted her decision. She secured short-term contracts but began to suffer from low mood and anxiety because she was worried about paying bills and was prescribed medication.

A post-mortem examination showed the cause of death to be multiple injuries, while toxicology reports revealed traces of paracetamol but no other drugs or alcohol.

Miss Eddy's mother, Geraldine, said her daughter became unemployed and came back to live in Cornwall in 2009. She stayed with her mother and father, Eustice, at Tolroy Farm, Hayle, before moving to a flat nearby.

Mrs Eddy said: "She found the short-term contracts stressful and missed her work colleagues. She regretted taking voluntary redundancy."

On the night of February 15 Miss Eddy, who was born in Redruth, had been staying with her parents, and her mother last saw her alive at around midnight.

At around 8am the following day, Mr Eddy realised his daughter had driven off in his Mercedes car. He and his wife jumped in their LandRover to look for her. The couple drove to Fisherman's Cove car park, North Cliffs, Hayle, where they found the Mercedes with the key still in the ignition.

Emergency services were called and Miss Eddy's body was found by helicopter crews from RNAS Culdrose near Helston at 9.25am.

Jenny Jones, community psychiatric nurse who had looked after Miss Eddy, said prior to her death her mental state had vastly improved.

When asked by coroner for Cornwall, Dr Emma Carlyon, if she thought Miss Eddy might have taken her own life, she replied: "I would say no. I understand the weather was bad that night and my gut feeling would be that it was an accident."

DC Sarah Brown confirmed the weather had been bad and the footpath Miss Eddy would have walked along was slippery. She said she could find no sign of any slip marks.

Dr Carlyon recorded an open verdict and said: "Miss Eddy had had a very high-functioning career. It must have been very difficult for her to be unemployed.

"We just don't know what she was doing that night, whether it was an accident or if she intended to take her own life."

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