Champion sailor took life day after birthday

Jess Eales, 17, from Hayling Island Sailing Club
Jess Eales, 17, from Hayling Island Sailing Club
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A TALENTED young sailor who trained at Hayling hanged herself after being prescribed an acne treatment which has known side effects of depression, an inquest has heard.

The body of 17-year-old Jessica Eales was discovered in woodland at Sway, in the New Forest, on July 31 about a mile-and-a-half from her family home in Lymington.

The tragedy happened the day after her birthday and just weeks after she represented Great Britain at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in Portugal, where she finished 11th. In April she won a gold medal at the Royal Yachting Association Youth National Championships.

The inquest at Winchester, attended by Jessica’s grandparents, heard she was a happy girl who had been successful in sailing and her studies, in which she was a straight A student and she hoped to go to university to study science.

In a statement read to the hearing, her father Nicholas Eales expressed concerns that his daughter had been taking the drug Dianette, a hormone treatment for acne, which has depression listed as a possible side-effect.

He said that he had since asked the family’s GP to ‘yellow flag’ the drug, which means to highlight the possible side effects suffered by Jessica for further research into the medication carried out by the authorities.

Mr Eales said: ‘Jess was taking Dianette that was prescribed to her four months earlier. From research it appears serious concerns have been raised about the serious and well documented side-effect of depression.’

Coroner Grahame Short heard Jessica had enjoyed her birthday which was spent with her friends and family.

Mr Short recorded a verdict that Jessica took her own life but said he could not find a link between the drug and her actions.

He added; ‘I think we shouldn’t underestimate the pressures on teenagers, particularly high achievers like Jess, and the sad part is that she felt unable to share these worries with her family and indeed her friends.’