Man wanting to end his life due to coronavirus crisis dragged to safety after climbing over A50 bridge railings

An elderly man wanting to end his life due to the coronavirus crisis was dragged to safety after climbing over bridge railings above the A50 in Stoke-on-Trent.

Ben Morton has told how he ran to the pensioner’s aid after spotting him as he drove home from doing his shopping at Asda.

The 28-year-old, a trucker and another bystander stepped in to help the distressed man at around 9.30am yesterday (March 31).

They grabbed hold of him before the police arrived and he was pulled away from danger.

Insurance worker Ben, from Meir Park, said: “I was on my way back from Asda when I saw a guy climbing over the railings.

“A lorry driver and myself slammed our brakes on and ran up to him as quick as I could. I then rang the police.

“The reason he was there in the first place was because he said he’d had enough of everything at the moment.

Police at the scene on the A50

“He was basically blaming everything on coronavirus and saying he didn’t want to live anymore.

“We kept trying to tell him that we were all in the boat and it would be OK but he wasn’t listening.

“The lorry driver then basically made the decision to just grab him as there was a point when he was dangling his leg off the ledge. All the traffic was backed up at this point.

“We were trying to lift his spirits and having a joke with him, saying that social distancing was out of the window as we had hold of him.

“He was pretty coherent, perhaps not what you’d expect. He was on older guy, in his 60s or 70s. He just seemed really normal.

“We were asking him if he had any family and he said that he hadn’t spoken to them about the way he was feeling.

“The police came after about 10 minutes. There were three police officers holding him and three members of the public.

“He got to the point where he was threatening to unzip his jacket. A police officer had hold of his shoulder, I was holding his belt, there were six of us.

“We ended up having to drag him over as he wasn’t coming down.

Ben Morton

“The police took him away for psychiatric evaluation and to get him the right support.

“It was hands down one of the scariest moments of my life.”

Ben added: “It’s not the first time it’s happened. Only four weeks I saw someone else on the bridge but I was stuck in a queue of traffic then.

“Yes life is rubbish at the moment, staring at the same four walls every day but this is a temporary  measure.

“Depression rates are going to go through the roof and this is a prime example of why it’s important for everyone to talk and checkup on their mates and loved ones. Unsurprisingly I had a beer as soon as I got home.”

A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: “Officers were called to a report of a man in distress on a bridge on the A50 at around 9.45am yesterday.

“Officers and colleagues from West Midlands Ambulance Service attended the scene.

“The man is now receiving appropriate care and support.”

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