AN Oxfordshire artist and actor’s body lay undiscovered below Beachy Head until another man drove a car off the cliff.
Richard Grecian – last night described as “extremely talented” by those who worked with him in Oxford – went missing on New Year’s Eve. No one was aware he was dead until police recovered the body of motorist William Beckett on Sunday.
The 52-year-old was believed to have been homeless at the time of his death.
A former teacher who spoke four languages, Mr Grecian was involved in art, amateur dramatics, music, historical reconstructions and had a keen interest in birds of prey.
He was involved with Crisis Skylight Oxford, a charity based at the Old Fire Station, in George Street, which works with homeless people.
Because of his success with the charity, in March last year Mr Grecian’s art was featured in an exhibition at Somerset House in London, alongside work by Tracey Emin and other artists.
Kate Cocker, director of Crisis Skylight Oxford, said: “Richard Grecian was an extremely talented artist. He took every advantage of the creative opportunities at our centre and great pride in being chosen to exhibit at the Crisis Commission at Somerset House.
“We are very saddened to hear of his death and our thoughts and best wishes are with all those who knew and cared about him.”
The charity declined to comment on how long Mr Grecian had been their client or when they had last seen him.
Mr Grecian was also a member of Oxford’s Sol Samba band. Band chairman Giuseppe Damiano said Mr Grecian was a popular member of the band for around two years, but stopped attending last summer.
He said: “He was a very nice guy – one of those people who always brought good moods with him to the band as long as he was with us.
“He had an excellent relationship with everyone and when he started to come less last year, we assumed he was focusing more on some other project.
“He was a really loved man and we enjoyed having him in the band.”
Mr Grecian had also been involved with a number of plays including The Tragical History of Dr Faustus, in Oxford, and a BMH Productions staging of Shakespeare’s Henry V in Didcot.
The other man found at Beachy Head was 43-year old Mr Beckett, of Battle, East Sussex, who went missing on Sunday. His car plunged off the cliff at the beauty spot.
The two incidents are not believed to be connected and police said they are not treating them as suspicious.
Officers discovered Mr Grecian’s body on the beach while searching the area for further victims of the crash. It was not close to the wrecked car and is believed to have been there for some time.
Inquests for both men have been opened and adjourned by coroners in Oxford and Eastbourne.