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Woman killed in cliffs accident

Cliffs near Belle Tout lighthouse The woman’s body was found by the Eastbourne inshore lifeboat near the Belle Tout lighthouse

A woman was killed when she accidentally stepped off an East Sussex cliff while walking with her husband.

She fell 300ft (91m) from a spot near the Belle Tout lighthouse on the clifftop near Eastbourne at about 15:00 BST on Saturday.

The woman’s body was found by the Eastbourne inshore lifeboat to the west of the lighthouse.

Sussex Police have ruled out suicide or foul play, and have described her death as a “tragic incident”.

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At the scene

The weather on the clifftop on Saturday was very wet and squally, with visibility significantly reduced.

Today I can see people standing just half a foot away from the edge of the cliff taking photographs.

People that know the area are sighing in disbelief at the scene.

They later took away a car, believed to belong to the couple, which had been parked at the Birling Gap cafe.

Officers said the couple, who were walking their dog at the time, were not from the local area.

There are no restrictions at the cliff edge and visitors on Sunday said people were always walking too close and posing for photographs. But they said fences would spoil the view.

One person said that people could not help themselves, while another said the cliff edge seemed to draw them in.

Gerry Silverstone, spokesman for the National Trust, said: “We have hundreds of thousands of visitors to our coastline across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland and actually the incidence of this sort of tragic incident happening is thankfully very rare indeed.

“So on the whole this coastline can be enjoyed and is very safe but this is a very tragic circumstance.”

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