Cuckfield war cameraman died of natural causes

Park House, Horsham Park SUS-140407-163329001
Park House, Horsham Park SUS-140407-163329001

A cameraman who filmed conflict in dozens of war-torn, hostile countries died of natural causes.

Jonathan Cavender, 57 of Chapelfields, Cuckfield, was found lying on his sofa by his family on April 29, 2015.

An inquest into his death, held at Park House, in Horsham, today (September 9), found Mr Cavender had chronic heart disease.

Mr Cavender, who was divorced, worked for a number of news agencies, including the BBC, Reuters and WTN, reporting from countries including Sudan, Uganda, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The cameraman was even mentioned in a book by John Simpson, foreign correspondent for the BBC, who described him as the ‘very model of a British cameraman in Africa; dashing, amusing and footloose, and handsome in a very out of Africa way’.

Dr Karen Henderson, assistant coroner for West Sussex, said: “Clearly, he had a very interesting and varied career and suffered as a result of that career, having Post Traumatic Stress disorder.

“His role as a cameraman man commenced from the shooting down of a plane and his role took him to Somalia, Bosnia, Chad, Angola, Sierra Leone and Barundi on the front line filming those conflicts.”

Dr Henderson said his work caused him ‘great stress’ and led to him self-medicating with alcohol, which he had under control.

He had received help with his PTS disorder and was being treated with medication, which he only took as prescribed. A post mortem found all the drugs Mr Cavender was taking were in ‘normal therapeutic range’.

Recording a conclusion of natural causes, Dr Henderson said: “I do find hat his death was more likely than not to have been primarily due to his underlying, undiagnosed cardiomyopathy.”

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