Grieving parents of a 20-year-old who went to Eastbourne and leapt off Beachy Head have spoken of their devastation at his death.
The body of Jonathon Clayton, who had aspergers and had recently been diagnosed with schizophrenia was found in the water at around 3pm on Friday, September 27.
Unable to fight back tears, his mum, Pauline Clayton, told the Derbyshire Times: “The last I heard from him was Thursday night. He texted saying ‘Sorry for everything. Love you millions.’
“Then he sent another saying ‘Night, love you. See you tomorrow.’ But he didn’t. That was it.”
His dad, Philip, added: “It’s devastating. It’s a shock but not unexpected. He always said he wouldn’t live to a great age.”
Former Chesterfield College student, Jonathon — known as Jono – was a patient at the Royal Hospital’s mental health unit, after being sectioned for a suicide attempt earlier this year.
The day before he died he told ward staff he was going to his girlfriend’s house and they approved it with his parents. He then told his girlfriend he was staying on the ward and caught a train down south.
“It was smoke and mirrors” said Philip. “He must have planned it. I’m amazed that he managed to get a train to London and then to Eastbourne because the aspergers made it difficult for him to follow instructions.”
Jonathon’s sister Emily, 15, said: “I think he did it because he didn’t want it to be us who found him. He was thinking of us.”
Philip added: “He always said nobody would miss him when he’s gone. But we’ve had hundreds of messages saying how kind he was and that he was such a nice lad.
“He was loving, mischevious – a loveable rogue. He would do the most stupid things but was really giving. If you had ten sweets and eleven people he would be the one to go without.”
The family, of Chasecliff Close, Loundsley Green, have praised the Beachy Head Chaplaincy Trust, who patrol the renowned suicide spot and spoke to Jonathon on the night he died.
“They talked to him, took him into town and got him to book into a hotel” said Philip. “Sometime after that he must have gone back. But I can’t thank them enough.
“Even if one of ten change their mind. Even if it’s just one in 100. All they can do is try.
He added: “The one comfort is that he is finally at peace. He has done what he wanted to do.
“He didn’t ask to have this illness. Noone asks to have it. You can never understand what’s going on in someone’s head.”
Jonathon’s funeral was on Tuesday at Chesterfield Crematorium. His family have asked for donations to the Beachy Head Chaplaincy Trust in lieu of flowers.