Hero couple praised for helping to stop man jumping to death

A couple have told how they spent two hours persuading a stranger not to jump from the top of a Blackpool car park.

Saturday, 5th May 2018, 7:00 am
Updated Saturday, 5th May 2018, 1:21 pm
Liam McGhee and Lucy Spencer, who persuaded a man not to jump from Blackpool's West Street car park

Liam McGhee, a 22-year-old hotel leisure manager, has been praised by police for helping to avert a death.

The drama unfolded at 8.20 pm last Thursday when the man climbed the West Street car park.

Liam and Lucy Spencer had just eaten at Nando’s and were set for a cinema trip when they noticed a crowd had gathered.

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Liam, of Cleator Avenue in North Shore, said he saw the man, in his 20s, perched on a high wall but was reluctant to get too close.

He said: “I knew I had to do something, so I ran round to the entrance in West Street and raced up the stairs. But when he saw me he wasn’t happy.

“He told me to leave him alone and let him get on with it.

“I tried to get him to open up and told him things couldn’t be that bad.

Police have hailed a member of the public after helping to talk a man down threatening to jump from a town centre building in Blackpool (Picture: Siobhan Drinkwater)

“So he started telling me a lot of personal stuff, things that had happened, and how he didn’t have any reason to live and how no one would care anyway.

“I said I grew up in Blackpool as well and that it was sometimes not a great place and I knew how hard it could be.

“I said there was only one person who could make his life better and that was him.

“If he jumped he would never get that chance and people who loved him would be devastated.”

Liam said he wanted to get closer, to pull the man away from the edge, but feared he would leap to his death.

Police arrived and, he said, nodded for him and Lucy, who had joined him, to keep talking.

Liam added: “At first he was pretty sober but he had a bottle of something with him and he was starting to get drunk.

“I got a bit nearer and I managed to pull him down.

“We ended up sort of hugging and then the police came in.”

Lucy, 25, a drama teacher from Fleetwood, said: “As soon as we saw him as we left the restaurant we knew we had to do what we could to help.

“It was just important to keep him as calm as possible.

“He seemed a little scared when the police arrived but Liam was able to keep him talking and reassure him and I also kept telling him everything would be all right.”

Lee added: “I just wanted to help him, I wanted him to realise that people did care in this world.

“I know what it is like to lose someone like that, it is devastating, and I didn’t want it to happen to him.

“I just hope he gets the help he needs.”

Insp Kirstie Whyatt, of Blackpool Police, said: “We would like to thank Liam and Lucy for their bravery in trying to calm the man down.

“Their actions showed great compassion in helping someone who was clearly distressed.

“Taking the time to stop and speak to the man prevented a more serious outcome, while their efforts in pulling him to safety were truly courageous.”