THE death of a popular young man whose body was found among rocks on the Swanage coastline five days after he was last seen in the town has been described as “a complete mystery.”

Bournemouth coroner, Sheriff Payne, recorded an open verdict at an inquest held on Tuesday into the death of Jesse Jones, 24, whose body was found among rocks some distance from Ballard Point on Thursday February 24.

Jesse had last been seen leaving the East Bar with two friends at 1.25am on Saturday February 19, but his movements between then and the discovery of his body are still unexplained.

“We have a complete mystery. We have no indication that anyone bore him any ill will.

“I’m certainly not going to record a verdict of suicide. I don’t think he did anything deliberately to end his life,” the coroner said.

The inquest heard that Jesse had been a bright student, with 10 GCSEs, three A-levels, and an honours degree from Kings College, London.

He had been due to return to the capital to live with his girlfriend, Tanya Chancellor, and to start work as a researcher at Elstree television studios.

In a statement, Miss Chancellor said that she had received a “good night” text from Jesse at 1.30pm, and that no one who knew Jesse believed he had taken his own life.

Jesse’s body was seen by a dog walker by an overhanging cliff near Ballard Point after five days of extensive searches around Swanage.

Acting Sgt Erica Mears told the inquest that the location had been isolated and had taken her 25 minutes to reach on foot.

Pathologist, Dr Denis Madders, said there was no medical evidence to indicate drowning, and said it was unlikely that injuries from at least two large impacts had been caused by waves buffeting Jesse’s body against the rocks where he was found.

“The merciful thought is that Jesse died quiet quickly,” he said.

Jesse’s father, Derek Jones, and Miss Chancellor said they were puzzled that Jesse’s boots were missing, adding that his pride in his footwear ruled out the possibility that he had walked and fallen from the cliff path.


SPEAKING after the inquest, Jesse’s heartbroken father, Derek Jones, said he that had expected an open verdict in the inquest.

“We always thought that there would be an element of what happened to Jesse that we would never know and never understand.

“The last six weeks have been absolute hell. We don’t know how we will carry on with our lives.

“Jesse had his whole life ahead of him. Things were really looking good for him,” he said.

Mr Jones expressed his thanks to the people of Swanage for the help and love shown to his family.

He also wanted to express his thanks to strangers who had written to them giving their condolences.

Recordings Jesse had made on his computer have been a comfort to his grieving family, said Mr Jones.

They added that a memorial concert organised by some of Jesse’s friends in memory would be held in Swanage later this year.