A POLO journalist who took her own life by jumping into the water at Mudeford Quay had been planning her death for weeks, an inquest heard.

Victoria Jayne Elsbury-Legg died of drowning after entering the water in Mudeford Quay on Thursday, February 11.

Yesterday a Bournemouth inquest heard that Ms Elsbury-Legg had asked her parents to drive her to the Quay that night.

On arrival at the car park she then left the vehicle without her parents' knowledge and disappeared.

Her parents, who were concerned for her welfare, contacted police to say they could no longer see her.

It sparked a large-scale search and rescue mission by Dorset police, RNLI, and Coastguard.

The search continued for an hour and a half before she was recovered around 10.30pm.

The inquest was told she was pulled from the water unresponsive and despite efforts to resuscitate her she was pronounced dead at Bournemouth Royal Hospital at 1.40am on Friday morning.

A suicide note was found in the back of her parent’s car.

The 44-year-old, who suffered from ME-like symptoms, had been living with her parents in Winkton, Christchurch, for the last few months of her life.

Speaking at the inquest her mum Sarah Legg said: "It became clear afterwards that she had planned every detail of her death in the weeks beforehand.

"She had very fond memories of Mudeford as we used to go there for holidays when the children were young. She picked that place for a reason.

"In the weeks before her death we had heard Victoria moving about at night and she had also asked us if she could have a light on at night.

"We didn't realise until afterwards that she had planning for her death and making sure everything was in order for when she was gone."

The inquest heard how Ms Elsbury-Legg had been plagued by tragedy from a young age.

When she was just 13 her best friend from school had been found dead in bed, an incident which "really affected Victoria".

Mrs Legg told the inquest that later in life when her daughter was working at the Guards Polo Club there were six very tragic deaths around the same time - including the CEO who died in a helicopter crash in Northern Ireland.

Her younger sister Genevra was diagnosed with ME when she was just 14-years-old.

"Victoria was always the dependable one and she was always the one people would turn to," added Mrs Legg.

"She always wanted to be the fit and strong one but she was struggling herself."

Originally from Bristol, Ms Elsbury-Legg received her degree in English literature and drama at Royal Holloway, University of London.

During her early career she worked on the then-HTV programme The List, interviewing future stars such as the Spice Girls and Justin Timberlake.

She also wrote a column for the Bristol Evening Post called ‘Sex in the City’.

In the later part of her career she became an integral and well-known part of the polo world working as a freelance journalist.

Following her death her parents set up a memorial page dedicated to the memory of their “devoted daughter”.

Dorset Coroner Sheriff Payne recorded a verdict of suicide.