Teens stop man jumping from bridge

THREE hero teenagers have told of the terrifying moment they prevented a father-of-two committing suicide by leaping off a bridge.Matthew Tortice, Tyler Hunter-Mahon and Tom Sheeran, all aged 14, were walking home from school on Monday when they came across a 35-year-old man who was threatening to jump off a footbridge over the A14 at Trimley.

By Danielle Nuttall

THREE hero teenagers have told of the terrifying moment they prevented a father-of-two committing suicide by leaping off a bridge.

Matthew Tortice, Tyler Hunter-Mahon and Tom Sheeran, all aged 14, were walking home from school on Monday when they came across a 35-year-old man who was threatening to jump off a footbridge over the A14 at Trimley.

The man already had one leg over the railings and appeared to have been drinking.

But the schoolboys calmly alerted police and then began talking to the man before physically pulling him back to safety at least four times.

Officers arrested the man on their arrival and took him into custody. He was cautioned for being drunk and incapable and has since apologised for the problems he had caused.

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Suffolk police yesterday praised the Orwell High School pupils and said that, without their intervention, the man would almost certainly have jumped.

The force also confirmed the trio would be recognised for their heroics at a ceremony later in the year.

Speaking from the school yesterday, the teenagers told how they felt impelled to act.

Tyler, from Felixstowe, said the friends had just been dropped off at school after attending a construction class at Otley College and were walking home when they spotted the man on the bridge.

“We all ran across the road to get to him. Matt phoned 999 and asked for Suffolk police,” he said.

“The man said: 'I have just tried to jump but I'm a bit scared to do it'. We talked to him for a minute and he walked back over to the bridge and put his right leg over the bridge and we pulled him back.

“We started talking to him about his family and asked him if he had any children. He said: 'Yes, a son and a daughter'.”

Matt, also from Felixstowe, added: “I said: 'How do you think your children will feel if you jump? He started to think twice.

“We were nervous and a bit scared in case he was going to jump. We physically pulled him back four or five times at least.”

“We were trying to calm him down and get a conversation out of him. I felt a lot of adrenalin. When you see him, you just don't want to leave him because you're afraid he might actually jump.”

Tom, from Felixstowe, said: “When he was trying to jump I was pulling him back and speaking to him.”

Police made an emergency response to the scene and arrested the man. He is now said to be sorry about his actions.

Inspector Steve Gallant said: “It's a refreshing change to have some young people involved in a positive way with an incident. I know from my work that young people do a lot of good stuff that very often goes without recognition.

“Police officers train to remain calm and professional in situations such as this but many adults with no training confronted with that situation would have walked the other way.

“But they did not do that. They saw someone who needed help and were willing to get involved.

“If they had not stepped in, certainly it would have led to the death or serious injury of the person on the bridge and subsequently many other injuries if he had jumped and caused a serious road traffic collision.”

danielle.nuttall@eadt.co.uk

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