A high-achieving Hampshire scientist jumped around 200 feet to her death from cliffs at a beauty spot, an inquest heard today.

Sally Banham was found face down in the sea at Chapman's Pool along the Jurassic Coast in Dorset on July 5 this year.

A post-mortem examination showed she died of multiple injuries including a fractured skull and spine consistent with a fall from a height.

The 39-year-old, who studied at Cambridge University and then gained a PhD in environmental chemistry at the University of East Anglia, was full of guilt and grief at her father's death from cancer in April 1999, the inquest heard.

She became unable to cope after her mother repeatedly tried to kill herself and was later diagnosed with dementia, Bournemouth, Poole and East Dorset Coroner's Court heard.

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Pain from a reoccurring knee injury also meant the keen sportswoman could not enjoy her hobbies of sailing, windsurfing, climbing and walking.

Her relationship broke down and she moved in to her mother's house in Romsey, to take up a new job in Cadnam.

She had previously worked for Associated British Ports in Southampton and at the British Marine Federation in Surrey.

Miss Banham, who grew up in Winchester, became depressed and tried to kill herself after drinking alcohol.

She had been released from a psychiatric hospital for the second time on June 5 when she went missing weeks later, on June 28.

Her sister Carol Banham became worried when she did not answer the phone and found a suicide note at her house.

''It said things like, I love life and I love you. It was several pages. How much she loved nature,'' she told the inquest.

''It just said, 'I know what I must do.'''

Miss Banham had told her care worker about visiting cliffs at Swanage a week earlier but then decided not to jump.

Police found her car parked nearby at Durlston Head before finding her body in the sea.

Her consultant psychiatrist Jane Ferguson told the inquest in Bournemouth she was a ''highly intelligent'' and ''driven'' high achiever who became highly anxious and suffered psychotic spells including the belief that she was the anti-Christ.

''Her personality traits which had helped her achieve so greatly academically worked against her,'' she said.

Coroner Sheriff Payne recorded a suicide verdict and said: ''She did go down to cliffs at Swanage and was pulled from the sea with very severe injuries consistent with a fall from a height.

''She left a note making it quite clear she was going to end her life.''