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Police save suicide bidder

PUBLISHED: 16:35 09 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:09 03 March 2010

WRESTLING with emotions about his sexuality, a young man threatening suicide was talked down off Orwell Bridge by police who revealed the horror of the incident today.

WRESTLING with emotions about his sexuality, a young man threatening suicide was talked down off Orwell Bridge by police who revealed the horror of the incident today.

Pc Colin Curtis and Pc Stan Todd managed to persuade the man to lay down his carving knife and a fruit knife, before saving him from plunging over the parapet of the 150ft high bridge one early morning last month.

The man in his early to mid 20s, had called 999 and was still talking to police control room staff on his mobile phone, when the Ipswich policemen arrived at the scene on the Felixstowe-bound carriageway near Wherstead.

They were coming to the end of a night shift, and in the darkness hours before dawn, they donned stabproof vests on hearing he had a knife.

With an ambulance crew standing by, they made their approach.

Pc Curtis said: "He had cut his wrists with razor blades, and was still bleeding but the cuts had not penetrated deeply.

"He was standing against the parapet, and the first thing we did was to take control of the situation. He needed to stop communicating with the control room then myself and Stan talked to him.

"It was quite weird really, because ten days previously we had done personal safety refresher training and it included a bit about knives.

"I approached the lad from the front, 45 degrees to his right and asked him to put the carving knife on the ground for me. I asked if he had any other knives and he produced a fruit knife which I asked him to put down too.

"I explained to him I needed to handcuff him, because I had to be sure he wouldn't hurt himself and they caused him some discomfort because of his injured wrists.

"The ambulance crew were there behind us.

"We searched him to check he didn't have anything else on him, and he was taken to St Clement's Hospital where he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act. He had been treated there before."

Pc Curtis said the incident had been more of a cry for help than anything else, and said he had felt personal satisfaction at being able to help the lad, and other suicide bidders over the years.

"It does feel good to be able to do something like that."

He was also first on the scene when a man jumped off the bridge and survived in August.

"I felt totally powerless that time," said Pc Curtis.

Of the incident at 3.50am on November 30, he said: "I later found out that he'd done something the night before as well, and I have no doubt we will probably get another call. It was a cry for help as he tried to come to terms with homsexuality."

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