Pubs ban for river rescue alcoholic

IPSWICH: A 22-year-old chronic alcoholic who sparked a full-scale river rescue costing thousands of pounds is banned from pubs and clubs in the town today.

It was the fourth time in three months emergency services have been sent to the Stoke Bridge area because Kelly Beale, of Crescent Road, Ipswich, was either in the water or threatening to jump in.

Prosecutor Gareth Davies told Ipswich magistrates that on the latest occasion Beale found it hilarious when paramedics, firefighters, police and even the Wattisham RAF search and rescue helicopter were called out.

Police were sent to Stoke Bridge around 4.20pm last Monday, although Beale had been in the area for 20 minutes or more.

When they arrived Beale, who was drunk, was by the river’s edge under the bridge after descending the wall.

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Mr Davies said: “It’s a very difficult thing to do when sober, when intoxicated it’s quite amazing.”

A fire crew had to be despatched at a cost of �3,000.

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Although a police officer tried to talk to Beale by leaning over railings 15ft above her, she ignored him while clutching her three-litre bottle of cider. Beale was swaying and incoherent, and appeared to be unaware of the commotion she was causing, the court heard.

She walked to the river’s edge while on the narrow ledge and gestured as if she was going to dive in, as more and more people gathered to watch.

Beale then jumped in the water and swam out about ten yards. Firefighters tried to throw rescue aids to her, but she refused assistance, swimming round in circles several times. At one stage Beale got out, only to jump back in.

Mr Davies said: “She thought it was quite hilarious. She was having the time of her life.”

The court was told at least eight police officers were at the scene, along with firefighters and two ambulances.

After about 20 minutes a lifeboat was despatched and Beale was helped aboard.

Mr Davies said she appeared to think the whole incident was a huge joke even though a search and rescue helicopter was on its way.

Beale pleaded guilty to a charge of obstructing a police officer when she appeared before the court.

She also admitted a separate offence of sexual touching which occurred on May 4.

On that occasion a drunken Beale touched a woman’s breast outside an Ipswich pub.

Neil Saunders, representing Beale, said his client has had a serious drink problem for eight or nine years.

Beale was given a 12-month community order and banned from pubs and clubs in Ipswich town centre.

She was also given an exclusion order which prevents her being in the town centre between 8pm and 8am.

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