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Cliff plunge couple 'living apart'

A married couple who died when their car plunged off a cliff were living apart, an inquest has been told.

Paul Charles, 53, and his wife, Jacqueline, 48, were killed when the blue Renault Scenic they were in was seen to drive off the edge of the 328ft Culver Down cliffs near Bembridge on the Isle of Wight before crashing on to the beach below.

Mr Charles, from Albert Road, Sandown, who was retired, and Mrs Charles, from Union Road, Ryde, both died from multiple injuries consistent with a fall in the incident just after 8pm on Wednesday.

Coroner's officer Dick Leedham said toxicology samples had been taken for analysis and the hearing at Newport Coroner's Court was adjourned until a later date. No new further details were given and investigations by police continue, he said.

The speed at which the car was travelling meant it did not hit any of the cliff on its way down, Mike Forsyth-Caffrey, sector manager for Isle of Wight Coastguard, said on Thursday.

"Solent Coastguard received a 999 call from a person saying they had seen a car from the Culver Haven car park disappear over the fields and over the cliff," he said. "I think they would have been travelling in excess of 30mph at least.

"From a standing point in the car park they would have overcome the ditch and the barbed wire fence barrier before they have gone over. We think it was travelling at a fair lick because it hasn't hit anything from the cliff as it has fallen down."

He added that the man was believed to have been at the wheel as his body was found on the driver's side of the vehicle.

A police spokesman confirmed that they did not believe there was any link between the incident and any other deaths or criminality. But he would not be drawn further on the nature of the deaths, saying the investigation was "still in its early stages".

The car was removed from the bottom of the cliffs on Friday by an RAF Chinook helicopter.


From Belfast Telegraph