Ipswich: Family calls for action to stop people jumping from the Orwell Bridge

Sharon Garner remembering her daughter Laura who died four years ago after taking her own life jumpi

Sharon Garner remembering her daughter Laura who died four years ago after taking her own life jumping from the Orwell Bridge - Credit: Andy Abbott

A FAMILY haunted by the death of a young woman who jumped from the Orwell Bridge is today demanding action to stop pedestrians from gaining access to the suicide spot.

Laura Garner

Laura Garner - Credit: Andy Abbott

Laura Garner took her own life in June 2009 after battling severe depression.

Today her mum Sharon Garner and cousin Kelly Long are calling on the authorities to tackle the issue to prevent another family from facing the “horrendous nightmare” of losing a loved one to the landmark.

Their call comes as another young life was lost when a man died on Sunday after falling from the bridge.

Ms Garner and Miss Long extended their sympathies to the man’s family, calling for action to ensure no other families face what they have.

Remembering her “bright and bubbly” daughter, Ms Garner, of Norwich Road, said: “She was such an intelligent girl.

“But she wasn’t well, she had severe depression.”

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She added: “There is no need for pedestrians to be able to get up on to the bridge.

“I know that if somebody is going to do that, they will but we should do everything in our power to stop them getting on to the bridge.”

Barbed wire along the sides of the bridge, netting and fences to stop people reaching the sides are all ideas put forward.

But Ms Garner said: “It is difficult to know what to do really. “I have been thinking about it all night, if there was higher fences that couldn’t be climbed or netting underneath so people couldn’t kill themselves – something needs to be done.

“We can’t sit back and let another family go through this horrendous nightmare.

“You think you are getting on with life but then you hear about another family’s tragedy and it knocks you again.

“I have been up on that bridge since my daughter died and it is the most horrible place to stand.

“But I would stand up there all day and night to try and stop people.

“People forget but there will be more if we don’t take action to try and prevent people from getting up there.

“Our hearts go out to the family of the young man.”

Miss Long, who runs a nursery and lives in Yarmouth Road, added: “I understand that if someone is in that frame of mind then it is difficult to stop them.

“But we can make it harder.

“People should not be able to access the bridge. It is distressing for everyone, the family, motorists, the emergency services when someone jumps.

“We can’t change the past but we can change the future.”

A Highways Agency spokeswoman said: “Our thoughts are with those affected by the tragic incident on the A14 Orwell Bridge this weekend.

“As well as allowing road users to cross the river without travelling into the busy centre of Ipswich, the Orwell Bridge also provides an important public right of way across the bridge for pedestrians wishing to cross the estuary.

“Samaritan phones are provided on all pedestrian approaches to the bridge for use by people who feel they may need confidential emotional support.”

THE coroner is set to open and adjourn the inquest of a man in his 20s who died after falling from the Orwell Bridge on Sunday.

Greater Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean will perform the routine procedure at Ip-City in Bath Street, Ipswich tomorrow.

Police officers were alerted to the tragedy at 12.10pm on Sunday, by numerous concerned drivers.

An area around The Strand was cordoned off by officers and paramedics were called to the scene.

But a spokesman for Suffolk police said the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

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