A good samaritan has spoken of his part in helping to talk down a man who was threatening to jump off St George’s Bridge earlier today.
Pete Bradshaw, a salesman, was travelling to Bentley for work this morning when he spotted the man looking over the side of the bridge, just before 11am.
“I was travelling from one end of Doncaster to the other to see somebody about work when I noticed this lad on my right hand side. He was just wearing a t-shirt and shorts and leaning against the bridge.
“There was nothing odd about it, he just looked like you would if you were looking over in to the river on a summer’s day. But, today wasn’t a summer’s day. There was something in me that said something wasn’t right, especially with the weather being as it was, and I needed to go back.
“I got to the traffic lights and turned back round in a matter of minutes. I put my hazard lights on to warn other drivers and slowed right down and I managed to pull up just after where he was.
“By this point he was sitting on the ledge with his feet dangling over the edge. He jumped out of my car and went over to him and said what are you doing. I know that might sound like a stupid question, but I didn’t know what to say.
“He said don’t touch me and leave me alone, and said that if I did touch him he would jump. I told him I couldn’t go away and said it looked like he needed a cigarette, I just said anything. I went back to my car to get him a cigarette.
“Other cars had started to queue behind me but they couldn’t see what was going on. I mouthed to other drivers to call the police and made the call signal with my hand in the hope one of them would understand.
“I didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t want to risk making him panic or draw attention to him, I knew I had to stay calm and keep him calm.”
Another motorist realised what Pete was trying to communicate and called the police. A plain-clothed officer was on the scene within 15 minutes, but Pete says the man did not want to speak to him so he carried on talking to him.
Pete, a father-of-three from Snaith, said he spoke about his life experiences in the hope that the man would open up about himself, and he did,
“We spoke about lots of things and I was trying to make him laugh. I was asking him not to jump, to think about it and to talk to me. He was talking back to me and I could see he was a nice lad, he just needed help.
“He was very eloquent and coherent, he knew exactly what he was saying. He was talking about his home life and his job. He didn’t have anything in his hands and he wasn’t drinking or anything like that. He looked to be a professional guy.”
Around 20 minutes later a Detective Inspector arrived at the scene and helped Pete talk to the man, who is thought to have been in his late thirties to early forties.
“The DI was fantastic. He was asking him to look at him and saying he would help him. I can’t remember most of what he said, but his whole domina was second to none. He just seemed to know what to say and kept so calm, his whole attitude was great,” said Pete.
Around 40 minutes later, a trained negotiator from Sheffield arrived to help talk the man down. At this point Pete, who had then been stood with the man for 75 minutes, was taken to a nearby police car to speak to officers. He did not see the man come down from the bridge, but said he was relived he had.
“He didn’t say anything to me before I came away, he was so cold by that point because it had been raining that his whole body was shaking and he could barely speak.
“I just really hope the lad is okay and he gets the help he needs. It’s very sad that he felt the need to be where he was. It’s heartbreaking really. It was only when I came away that I realised how upsetting the whole situation was.
”I’d like to add that all three officers who attended the scene were outstanding.”
Pete’s actions are made even more remarkable by the fact that 47-year-old was not supposed to be in the town at the time of the incident. He travels all across Yorkshire with his job and was supposed to be in Immingham, but had forgotten about his job in Doncaster.
But, despite all this, Pete still refuses to be acknowledged as a hero.
“Some people might say that, but I’m not at all,” he said.
South Yorkshire Police were called to the bridge at around 11am following reports of what officers described as ‘concern for a man’. The road between St George’s roundabout and York Road roundabout was closed for almost three hours whilst officers dealt with the incident.
A spokesman for the force confirmed that the road had re-opened and the man was ‘safe and well’ at around 1.45pm.
*If you are affected by the issues raised in this story, you can call the Samaritans 24 hours a day for free on the by telephoning 116123. Just having someone to talk to that isn’t family or friends can be a tremendous help. You don’t have to be suicidal to get in touch.