A woman plunged to her death from a cliff edge after a night out, when she tried to make her way home in the pitch black from a holiday cottage.
Megan Thornton had only been at the seafront property for a short while when she was told she could not stay the night because 15 family members were already sleeping at the centuries old cottage.
An inquest into her death heard she was fine about leaving and walked into the back garden, 30ft from the cliff edge.
There were solar lights indicated the cliff edge, but the inquest heard the lights were not on that evening in the pitch black of night.
There was no fencing to protect people from the 25 feet high cliff edge because coastal erosion rips the fencing down.
Tragically the talented young woman – who was aiming to walk home – took a few steps and plunged to her death over the cliff.
Megan had graduated with a degree from Cardiff University and then a completed a Masters degree at Exeter University in marketing.
She achieved such a high level of academic success that Exeter University Business School she was given a world class scholarship.Megan Thornton was just 23
The inquest heard that on a night out in Bude, Cornwall, with friends, Megan met up with a group of strangers who were staying at the old cottage overlooking Widemouth Bay, Cornwall.
She joined Charlie Pengilly, who she met that night and who was staying at the house with family members, and they took a cab to the property.
Megan, who worked as an assistant marketing manager for the Coreus Group, was told that she could not stay over at the cottage because 15 people were already sleeping there that night, in July 2022.
An inquest at the Cornwall coroner’s court in Truro heard that Megan was calm about the situation and said she would leave.
Charlie and 23-year-old Megan left by the back door which leads to the garden and cliff.
Charlie said he tried to call a cab but it seems Megan had set her mind to walking back to where she was staying.
But in the pitch black in a property she did not know, she took two steps and plunged 30 feet down the sheer cliff and landed on rocks on the beach below.
Charlie raised the alarm and house guest Alice Rogers, who is a GP practice nurse, ran down to the beach at 2am and gave unconscious Megan life support until paramedics arrived.
Charlie said he was trying to call a cab when Megan took two steps and neither of them had been aware of the cliff edge being so close to where they were walking.
He said: “She was a lovely girl. I was just trying to get her a cab home.”
Police said there were no suspicious circumstances.
A post mortem concluded she died from head and neck injuries consistent with a fall from height.
She was 1.5 times the drink drive limit but was a ‘fit and well’ young woman.
Her father Paul Thornton said: “She was very precious to us. We are very proud of her.
“She achieved so much in her short life. She was so single minded, very determined, hardworking and very ambitious.”
He said the family did not blame anyone for the tragedy and were grateful to Mrs Rogers for doing everything she could to help her on the beach.
The senior Cornwall coroner Andrew Cox said Megan was of a mind to walk back to her address at 2am and set off but fell over the cliff edge onto the rocks below.
He also commended Rogers as she tried to save Megan but said there was nothing she could do to avoid this outcome.
He recorded an accidental death conclusion saying: “This was a tragic accident.”
An accident that should never have happened there should have been a fence or lights this is clearly the owner of the property fault