St Leonards man died following fall, inquest hears

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A pensioner died after falling from the seventh floor balcony of a block of flats, an inquest heard.

Sven Legnelius, 93, was found on the roof on the first floor at the rear of Marine Court on March 13 this year.

An inquest into his death was held today (Thursday, November 30) at Eastbourne town hall.

Dr Ashley Fegan-Earl, who carried out the post mortem examination, said Mr Legnelius’ injuries were consistent with a fall from a height.

His death was treated as unexplained at the time police investigated the cause.

In a statement read out at today’s inquest, Dr Fegan-Earl said there was ‘no evidence whatsoever’ that Mr Legnelius had been pushed.

His nephew, Anders, who lived with his late uncle, said Mr Legnelius was affected ‘quite badly’ by the death of his wife, who passed away a few months before.

He added that Mr Legnelius suffered from ‘temporary paranoia’ and believed people were watching him all of the time and that others were after him.

Mr Legnelius’ nephew said: “I do not believe that he jumped because Sven loved life. He was always talking about how happy he was. He came into my bedroom every night saying how happy he was with his life. He enjoyed what we were doing together.”

The inquest heard that Mr Legnelius, who was born in Sweden, used to work high up within Scandinavian Airways.

He was married to his wife Alma for many years and lived in several countries overseas.

Dr Hannah Hughes, his GP, said Mr Legnelius did complain about ‘severe sharp pains’ in his knees in the last years of his life and in 2015 was having problems with his balance.

In October last year he was complaining about discomfort in the lower part of one of his legs, Dr Hughes added.

The inquest heard that Mr Legnelius would walk around inside the whole of Marine Court every day as part of a fitness regime devised by his nephew.

Simone McIntyre, of Marine Court, said in a statement that she found Mr Legnelius’ keys to his flat on the seventh floor on the morning he was found dead.

Coroner Alan Craze concluded the inquest with an open verdict.