A CORONER has demanded a review of safety at suicide-risk Scammonden Bridge over the M62.
Peter Merchant put Highways England and Kirklees and Calderdale councils on notice after hearing harrowing evidence over the death of 28-year-old Nick Dawson.
Mr Dawson had a long history of serious mental health problems and plunged from the 120ft high Rainbow Bridge near Scammonden Dam on September 26 last year.
Bradford Coroner’s Court heard that the depressed care worker had considered taking his own life at the bridge a few months earlier.
Mr Merchant said: “In January of that year it was reported that he had taken himself to that bridge and had sat there for some time and contemplated whether to jump but decided not to.”
Mr Merchant then told Mr Dawson’s father Robert and a room full of people who had given evidence that he would be writing to Highways England and the relevant local authorities asking them if more could not to be done to try to prevent any more tragedies.
He said: “It was of some concern to me that hearing evidence from May 2010-2015 there had been four similar fatalities and between May 2017-2018 three deaths, including that of Nick.
“And between May 2016 and 2017, while there had been no deaths, there had been 10 incidents for police to attend as far as Det Sgt Rob Stevens was able to confirm and one of those had been in relation to someone who had been contemplating jumping from the bridge.
“Of the 32 incidents from May 2014-2018 Det Sgt Stevens said there had been two incidents of people talked down from that bridge.
“It seems to me that further precautions ought to be considered to try to deter people from using that bridge to end their lives.
“I will write to the relevant authorities to look into the matter to see whether there are any other steps they can take and ensure that the bridge is not used for these purposes.
“The authorities have 56 days in which to respond.”
Mr Dawson was originally from Dewsbury and had family in Lindley.
Mr Merchant concluded that Mr Dawson, who was under the care of the local mental health services in Calderdale and who had been living in independent accommodation in Sowerby Bridge, took his own life.
During the hearing the strain of giving evidence took its toll on consultant psychiatrist Dr Sara Davies who burst into tears. The inquest had to be adjourned briefly while she composed herself.
Dr Davies explained that Mr Dawson had been detained under Section Three of the Mental Health Act on January 23, 2017, and staff had tried to give him the very best treatment.
An investigation cleared the authorities of any blame, a judgement agreed with by Mr Merchant.
For anyone in distress the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day. Phone 116 123 in confidence.