The ‘bright, kind and honest’ man was airlifted to hospital after fall last year in what was the Chivenor Sea King’s last rescue mission.

A 'bright, kind and honest' young man found dead on Broadsands Beach last year died as the result of a 'tragic accident'.

Alexander Chapman, 38, from Sheffield, was found near the bottom of the steep steps down to the beach near Berrynarbor on October 4.

An inquest into his death on Thursday heard Mr Chapman, an osteopath, was visiting North Devon with his girlfriend Lindsay Stockley.

They had gone onto the beach with food and drink for a picnic, and intended to camp in the car.

But after a small disagreement, Miss Stockley left Mr Chapman on the beach and returned to her car where she slept for 'several hours'.

When she woke up she was worried as he had not returned, and went back to the 'pitch black' beach.

After searching she found Mr Chapman unconscious in a cove.

She tried to administer CPR but had to return to her car and drive to a nearby hotel to dial 999 at around 3am as she had no phone battery.

Mr Chapman was flown to Morriston Hospital, Swansea, by 22 Squadron - the Sea King's last rescue mission - but despite the efforts of emergency services he was pronounced dead at 5.04am.

A post mortem revealed he had died from multiple injuries, and also found he had scratches on his arms and head, consistent with falling through brambles.

Detective Sergeant Charlie Morris, who investigated the scene in daylight, said a carton of pineapple juice bought by the couple was found half way up the steep steps.

Next to the steps was a patch of undergrowth which had a 'clear hole' where 'something large had smashed through the bramble bushes.'

DS Morris said it was his opinion that Mr Chapman had fallen through this undergrowth some 35ft before rejoining the steps, causing the injuries leading to his death.

Mr Chapman was found to have a level of alcohol in his blood and, a few months before his death, had an operation on his ankle - both factors coroner John Tomalin said could have contributed to his death.

Mr Chapman's father Peter Chapman said: "Alex was a man of bright intelligence; he was decent, he was honest and he was very kind."

Mr Tomalin concluded a verdict of accidental death.