Ipswich man given conditional discharge after forcing closure of A14 over Orwell Bridge which led to traffic chaos

The Orwell bridge on a clear day. By Sue Goodman.

The Orwell bridge on a clear day. By Sue Goodman. - Credit: citizenside.com

An Ipswich man who caused the Orwell Bridge to be closed for 90 minutes yesterday after threatening to harm himself has been given a conditional discharge.

Daniel Oldfield, of Davey Close, appeared before South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court today to plead guilty to causing a public nuisance.

The 39-year-old was due to appear on a video link from Martlesham police investigation centre during the morning, but refused to come out of his cell.

Magistrates were told he had said he would go to court in person, but declined to have the matter dealt with via a virtual hearing.

Because of what were described as “exceptional circumstances” magistrates requested police transport Oldfield from Martlesham to Ipswich to appear before them.

The hearing finally happened early this afternoon.

Oldfield admitted causing a nuisance to the public by causing the A14 carriageway to be closed and causing the movement of vessels on the River Orwell to be stopped.

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The incident began shortly after 9.50am and ended at around 11.25am.

After police arrived at around 10am they saw a man attempting to climb on to the parapet of the bridge.

The bridge was closed and at one stage Oldfield was said to have had a leg over the edge of the parapet.

A specialist negotiator was brought in to talk to Oldfield.

He became agitated and demanded a vessel travelling on the River Orwell be turned around.

Police contacted the Port of Ipswich and marine traffic under the bridge was stopped.

Traffic was at a standstill in both directions between junction 56, Wherstead and junction 57, the Nacton Interchange, with queues back to the Copdock Interchange on the eastbound side and Seven Hills on the westbound carriageway.

Drivers were also queuing on the A1214 London Road northbound just before the A137 West End Road junction.

At the time a spokesman for the coastguard said two crews from Harwich were launched to support the police operation.

At the end of today’s court hearing Oldfield was given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £20 to the victims’ fund.