Blessing Olusegun most likely died because of an accident or suicide, a coroner has said.
The 21-year-old Eltham business student was found dead on Bexhill beach, East Sussex, on September 18 last year – Police treated her death as “unexplained, but non-suspicious”.
Sussex Police received criticism for not investigating Blessing’s death properly because of her ethnicity, however the force denies this.
Almost a year on from her tragic death, Blessing’s friends and family have continued to fight for justice and uncover the truth of what happened to her.
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(Image: Christiana Sofolabo)
More than 55,000 people have demanded a thorough police investigation on how Blessing came to her death online.
Prior to her death, Blessing was completing a one-week placement in Bexhill as a carer for elderly people with dementia and other mental health illnesses.
At a pre-inquest review held in Hastings, Coroner Alan Craze told Blessing’s family she “most likely died from suicide or accident”.
Blessing’s mother, Esther Abe, wore a hoodie with “Justice for my Daughter” and “Justice for Blessing” printed on the back and sleeve, SussexLive reports.
Mr Craze went on to say: “We know who, how, when and where she died. The simple question of the inquest will be how did she come by her death.
“At worst there are four possibilities, natural causes, accident, foul play, suicide.
“There is probably insufficient evidence for natural causes. We will probably leave two on the table, accident and suicide.
“The fourth would have been murder.
He continued: “The police say it’s more likely to be an accident than suicide.
“I may be asked to look into the fourth but that’s the way I see the inquest going.”
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Hours before her death, Blessing had spoken with her boyfriend on the phone. She had also reportedly spoken to her mother at 1.25am on the morning of September 18.
After her body was found, Blessing’s mother was informed on her daughter’s death and police began an investigation – officers found her phone and slippers 300m away from her body.
A force spokesperson added that officers also searched where Blessing was staying, carried out interviews with those who last spoke and saw her, investigated her phone records and conducted forensic examinations of her belongings that were found on the beach.
CCTV footage was also examined, which the spokesperson said showed Blessing was alone at the time as she entered the beach – however Blessing’s family have asked to examine more of the CCTV footage from the night of her death.
The pre-inquest heard there were no others in the vicinity, which Mr Craze regarded as “quite significant evidence”.
Blessing’s autopsy was originally reported as “inconclusive”, however Sussex Police announced last March that she had died of drowning.
The post mortem examination found no evidence of violence or of internal or external injury.
Blessing’s death was thrust into the spotlight last March after the death of Sarah Everard, prompting conversations over the safety of women.
Others suggested online that Blessing’s death did not receive the same amount of attention Sarah Everard’s did, because of her ethnicity.
A full inquest is expected to take place next year.