UPDATE – Sussex Police make a statement on the death of Blessing Olusegun

Detectives are continuing to investigate the death of 21-year-old Blessing Olusegun in Bexhill.

Yesterday, following a weekend of social media interest in the case Sussex Police issued a statement that said:

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Blessing Olusegun, a much-loved and popular 21-year-old woman and business student from South London. In September 2020, Blessing spent a week in Bexhill in East Sussex working as a carer.

“At 6.20am on Friday September 18th the body of a woman was found lying on the beach at Bexhill near Galley Hill. The body was identified that morning as that of Blessing and her next of kin, her mother, was visited and informed by Metropolitan Police officers later the same day.

“Sussex Police detectives attended and, with no immediate evidence of a crime, the Coroner was notified and a police investigation launched. The investigation remains ongoing and, to date, police have carried out detailed enquiries to explore the circumstances leading to Blessing’s death. These include:

  • A search of the area where Blessing was found: this located her phone      and slippers piled neatly 300m away on the beach
  • Enquiries in the local neighbourhood to identify any potential witnesses
  • Interviews with people who last saw or spoke with Blessing, including  family and friends
  • A search of Blessing’s room at her work placement in Bexhill and belongings found on the beach, including forensic tests
  • A forensic examination of her devices and a detailed review of her phone records, which is ongoing
  • Retrieval and review of CCTV from the local area; this showed Blessing walking to and entering the beach at around 1.30am. She was alone and no evidence of others being in the vicinity has been captured on CCTV
  • Toxicology tests and a medical examination was carried out by a pathologist who found Blessing had died from drowning; they found no evidence of violence or any internal or external injuries.

“Because there is no evidence of third party involvement, Blessing’s death is described as ’non suspicious’. The Coroner will decide on the facts of the case and determine how, when and where Blessing died.

“Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Pippa Nicklin said: “I have spoken with Blessing’s mother and explained we remain absolutely committed to finding out the facts of what happened to Blessing. This is a very distressing time for her and we are keen to do everything we can so that hopefully she may gain some closure over the death of her much-loved daughter.

“Although there continues to be no evidence of a crime we are still carefully and fully examining all the circumstances leading up to Blessing’s death, from her arrival in Bexhill, to her leaving the house where she was working and walking to the beach.

“It has been reported that we have not properly investigated Blessing’s death because of her ethnicity and we strongly refute these claims.”

The statement concludes by confirming that all evidence collated will be submitted to the Coroner, who will set a date for an inquest in due course and the police ask “for everyone to respect the privacy of Blessing’s family at this difficult time.”

The post mortem examination, carried out by an independent pathologist at the time, found no evidence of violence or of internal or external injury.

Blessing’s mother has set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money to pay for a burial – as of this morning it had raise more than £10,000.

DI Nicklin said: “We acknowledge there are a lot of people who want answers about what happened to Blessing, and we are working hard to establish the full circumstances of her death so that we can provide those answers to her mother, wider family and friends.

“We understand this is an incredibly distressing time for Blessing’s mother and we are keen to do everything we can so that hopefully she may gain some closure over the death of her much-loved daughter. We remain in regular contact with her, as we have done throughout the investigation, and will ensure to update her promptly of any significant developments in the case.

“Although there continues to be no evidence of crime, we have been keeping an open mind and are still carefully and fully examining all the circumstances leading up to Blessing’s death, from her arrival in Bexhill, to her leaving the house where she was working and walking to the beach.

“This remains an open and active investigation – it has never closed. Anyone who saw Blessing that night, or who has any other information that will help, can report online or by calling 101 quoting Operation Vista.”

Blessing’s mother Christiana Sofolabo has set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money for what she describes as: “The best burial for our Blessing.”

Her mother explains: “Blessing was at Bexhill-on-Sea working on placement work as a live-in caregiver for the elderly who suffer from dementia and other mental and physical health issues. Her last conversations were around 12.30am, she sent text messages to her boyfriend and her close family friend asking to stay on the phone to her as she went for a walk.

“Blessing means so so much to us, her friends and family. Her name is Blessing for a reason, she shined so much light into all our lives, she was the kindest, most loyal, beautiful, amazing, god-fearing, enigmatic young woman we ever had a pleasure to be around.”

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