International human rights lawyer took her life in Eastbourne amid mounting paranoia and ruined career

Eastbourne Town Hall, where the coroner gave details of the causes of the suicide.

Simone Burns, a human rights barrister who was jailed earlier this year for her racist and aggressive behaviour on Air India was found dead at the bottom of a cliff in Eastbourne.

On June 1st, several witnesses thought they saw someone going over the edge, an inquest at Eastbourne Town Hall heard. The international lawyer was under the media’s spotlight after a video had been posted online showing her vulgar comments towards flight staff, calling them ‘Indian money-grabbing c****’ after being refused more wine.

She “became increasingly erratic with friends and family” when the footage was shared on the news, said Alan Craze, coroner at the inquest. Catherine Bickerstaff, her probation officer, said “Her life’s work was ruined and she could not see her future in politics anymore”.

Simone Marie Burns was released from Bronzefield’s women’s prison on May 20th and took her life just days after. Bickerstaff added “I let Simone know that she was able to sell her flat and move to Ireland”, as the deceased talked about going back to Northern Ireland and starting fresh.

Ms Burns from First Avenue in Hove was a “highly intelligent, independent individual. She worked voluntarily and had a lively personality, but medical staff recognized anxiety and mounting paranoia”, a witness statement read.

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