Inquest to be held after bridge jump death

AN Ipswich community was in mourning today after a young woman plunged to her death from the Orwell Bridge.

AN Ipswich community was in mourning today after a young woman plunged to her death from the Orwell Bridge.

The victim, who was believed to be around 20 years old, was pronounced dead at the scene after landing on a concrete structure at the bottom of a bridge support.

Police were alerted by a “large number” of motorists who reported that the woman had jumped off the side at around 10.25am yesterday.

An RNLI lifeboat went to the scene to recover the woman's body from the structure to take it to paramedics waiting at a nearby harbour.

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Archie Turnbull, rescue centre manager for the coastguard at Walton-on-the-Naze, which co-ordinated the marine operation, said: “The lifeboat picked up the casualty from the parapet at the bottom of the bridge support. It is a tragic situation.”

A spokeswoman for the East of England Ambulance Service said paramedics initially believed the victim was under 18 and possibly as young as 13.

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Because of this and the fact it was a sudden death, they were required by law to take the body to Ipswich Hospital for a post mortem investigation.

The woman's immediate next of kin have been informed, but police said they would not be releasing her details. She is believed to come from the Whitton area of Ipswich

The coroner's office in Ipswich said it would be holding an inquest in due course.

A former school friend, who did not wish to be named, said: “She was in a few of my classes and when I heard I was so shocked.

“I could not believe it. I didn't know she had any problems. She was always very bubbly and happy at school and had a group of friends.

“She had her whole life ahead of her. It is really so awful.”

Meanwhile, motorists who had pulled into a lay-by on the B1456 at The Strand, close to the scene, spoke of their sadness at the news.

Neil Langley, a first aid supplies salesman, said: “It is a bit of a sad situation to want to do something like that. I don't know what the chances of surviving are.”

Another, who did not wish to be named, said his friend also died after hitting the concrete below the bridge when he jumped off around two years ago.

He said: “I stop in this lay-by once a week for work and it is mad looking at the scene now after what has just happened.”

Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to call Pc Matt Kidd-Stanton at Suffolk police on 01473 613500.

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