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The Daily Mail
By Sophie Borland
Last updated at 3:29 PM on 29th May 2008
A mother took her eight-year-old daughter to a clifftop – then jumped to her death.
Tansy Langton, 50, had written family phone numbers on a piece of paper and put them in little Olivia’s pocket so she could be returned home, an inquest heard yesterday.
Miss Langton, who had a history of depression, had earlier asked a conservation ranger where the 120ft cliffs were steepest.
She went to the edge at three different places before choosing where to jump.
Depression: Tansy Langton with Olivia when she was a baby
The mother of two left Olivia on a path 30ft away, telling her she had a headache and needed to sit down.
Eyewitness Darren Bellamy said: “She was sitting with her legs in front of her and shuffling forwards.
“She started to slide down the grass and tried to turn on her side and put her hands out. She started to tumble down the cliff.”
Mr Bellamy added: “Then I saw a young girl talking to a police officer.
“She said she was looking for her mother, so I described to the officer what I had seen and my family stayed with the girl until police took her away.”
The tragedy happened on January 27 at Anvil Point, Swanage, part of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast.
PC Mari Montgomery told the Bournemouth inquest she asked Olivia where her mother was and she replied: “Just down there”.
She said her mother normally went to sit down when she had a headache. PC Montgomery said: “I told Olivia to wait on the path while I went to the edge. But she said she was OK because she was nearly nine and walked part of the way with me.
“She seemed puzzled but not overly concerned about her mother’s whereabouts.
“‘When I got to the grassy ledge, I couldn’t see anyone. Olivia told me Tansy’s name and I shouted it three times, but there was no reply.
“I asked Olivia if there was anyone who could come and collect her and she produced a small piece of paper from her pocket.
“On the paper was her grandfather’s name and telephone number and the address of her brother.”
Anvil Point: Double tragedy
Police later found a suicide note at Miss Langton’s £200,000 flat close to the beach in Bournemouth.
It said “goodbye” and asked that someone look after her daughter.
Olivia is now in the care of her brother Christopher, 27, a website designer.
He told the court his mother had suffered from depression and anxiety for many years and had a fear of dying.
He said she had never appeared suicidal but had recently changed medication and “I knew there were some side-effects”.
He added: “My mum was very caring, sometimes she cared so much that she asked for reassurance that she was doing all she could.”
Miss Langton, a part-time administrator for an auction house, had also worked as a company secretary.
The court heard that only 15 minutes before her death, climber Ivan Lissin, 22, had been fatally injured in a fall from the same cliffs.
The Oxford bio-chemistry graduate was with other members of the university’s rock climbing club on a “hard, very severe” climb called Peacemaker.
Mr Lissin, who was not wearing a helmet, slipped and fell 30ft into the sea, hitting his head on a rock.
He died the following day. He had been climbing with Gareth Uglow, a qualified lifeguard, who dragged him from the water after the fall.
Mr Uglow said: “Ivan was leading and above me. He was trying to move across in a horizontal position when he fell.
“I pulled the rope as it became tight, but all the gear ripped out and he fell behind me.
“I didn’t see if he hit anything on the way down. I then saw him floating face down in the water.
“I shouted for help and quickly undid myself and scrambled down to a ledge.
“I had lost sight of Ivan so pulled his rope tight to bring him to the surface.
“When I could see him I jumped in and brought him to the edge.”
Mr Lissin was flown to hospital in Southampton in a helicopter which had to return immediately to pick up Miss Langton.
The court heard that rescuers at first through she had fallen by accident as she watched the operation to reach Mr Lissin.
Coroner Sheriff Payne recorded verdicts of suicide on Miss Langton and misadventure on Mr Lissin, from Oxford.