Matlock man took his own life by driving off High Tor

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A Matlock man drove his car over the edge of an iconic rockface to take his own life – a coroner’s court has heard.

Police discovered the body of Stephen John Lythgoe, of Church Street, in his black Chrysler PT Cruiser, which was wedged between trees at the base of High Tor, in Matlock Bath, on Monday, June 2, this year.

A dog walker had called the emergency services that morning after seeing track marks at the top of the cliff.

When he was found, Mr Lythgoe still had his seat belt on. He was last seen at 8pm the previous evening.

Assistant coroner for Derbyshire James Newman said: “Mr Lythgoe was found in his vehicle at the base of High Tor cliffs, after concerns were raised by a dog walker who had found vehicle tracks leading over the edge at the top of High Tor cliffs.

“Mr Lythgoe was pronounced dead at the scene.”

The 500 foot drop of High Tor is a popular rockface for climbers to scale, and has been the muse of travellers and artists for centuries.

Due to the difficulties in accessing the scene, Derby Mountain Rescue Team was called in to assist in removing his body.

The car was removed several days later.

A post–mortem examination was carried out on Mr Lythgoe and the medical cause of death was listed as extensive damage to the spine, lungs and head, aggravated by damage to the ribs and sternum and trauma due to a single vehicle collision.

Secondary causes of death were given as epilepsy and excess alcohol consumption.

Mr Newman added the 65-year-old took his own life.

Mr Lythgoe was born in Salford and was a retired pattern maker. His was married to Carole Lythgoe, who is a retired charity worker.