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Hero stops city bridge-jump
A MODEST hero saved the life of a young man he believed was about to jump off a Worcester footbridge at the same spot where another man fell to his death earlier this year.
Former police officer David Perridge was returning to St Martin’s Gate car park with his shopping when he spotted a man by the railings of the footbridge over City Walls Road at about 1.15pm on Saturday, the exact same spot where 42-year-old Christopher Handley fell to his death in August.
The 56-year-old, a retired road policing inspector who now works as a traffic management adviser, said the man could have been in his late teens or early 20s and appeared distressed.
He had his hands on the railings, rocking backwards and forwards, before he climbed over near where flowers were left in memory of Mr Handley.
Mr Perridge said: “I could hear him breathing, heavy and fast.
“He took one big breath like he was diving into a swimming pool.
“I just thought ‘flippin’ heck’. I said, ‘What do you think you’re doing?’ I think I shocked him by shouting at him.
“That distracted him from what he was doing. He told me to go away but I kept talking to him.
“I just thought, ‘Oh my God! He’s going to jump! I don’t want to see that. How do I stop him?’ I was saying, ‘Please don’t do it – I can’t cope with you jumping off the bridge’.”
Meanwhile, other members of public called the police and at one point the man turned back towards the bridge as if he was going to climb back over the railings.
He said: “I grabbed him and pulled him in and I held onto his belt so he couldn’t run off. He was extremely distressed. He was crying and telling me to let go.
“He just seemed a mess. I don’t view myself as a hero. I did what needed to be done. I hope other people would have done the same thing. I don’t know if I saved his life. All I can say is I thought he was going to jump.”
Mr Perridge, who lives just off Newtown Road, Worcester, said: “It seemed to me he wanted help and if I let him go he might do something equally stupid.”
When friends of the man later approached the scene, Mr Perridge let go of the man and he went into a nearby house with them.
Mr Perridge, who pointed out the house to police, stressed that his efforts were supported by other members of the public who talked to the man and called the police.
A spokesman for West Mercia Police said officers were called at 1.25pm.
“He was restrained by members of the public and made off before officers attended the scene. He was found later by officers and referred to social services for treatment,” he said.
Worcester police have urged a couple – a man and his wife – who helped in the incident to contact them on 101 so they can thank them. Reference number 374S 13/10/12.