Man with agonizing skin condition leapt to his death after motorists yelled ‘jump’ (story from the UK)
A suicidal man who suffered from an agonizing skin condition leapt to his death from a bridge after motorists shouted ‘jump’, an inquest heard.
Paul Cowling, 59, told officers he wanted to kill himself because of the horrendous skin condition which he claimed health services refused to treat.
For seven hours emergency services spoke to him as he clung to the edge of Avonmouth Bridge, Bristol, on bank holiday weekend last August.
As a result of road closures traffic began to build up leading to 30-mile tailbacks.
PC John Clarke, of Avon and Somerset police, told the hearing of the taunts made by drivers.
‘At some stage the northbound traffic was stopped. This was a great help in negotiating with Paul.
‘But people started shouting ‘jump you ****er’ and ‘jump you b******’.
‘Tears were rolling down his face at that point. He had heard them and one of the shouts was re-enforced with a lorry horn sounding.’
Described as a ‘gentle recluse’, the inquest heard Mr Cowling told a police officer the skin condition left him unable to eat and the only things he could bear to put in his mouth were ice cubes.
Firefighter Derrick Hone tried to haul Paul to safety using his belt as leverage as a cup of tea was passed to him, but then watched in horror as the man hurled himself 100ft to his death.
Mr Hone said: ‘I managed to yank him back but he wriggled to the edge of the stanchion.
‘He got over the edge and something just went. I thought it was the belt but I had dislocated my little finger. His T-shirt caught on the stanchion and then he went.’
A lifeboat went to help the stricken man but he was pronounced dead in the water.
Paul, who was unemployed and lived with his brother David, in Bristol, had suffered from an undiagnosed skin condition for several months.
Security supervisor David said his brother, who he described as a ‘gentle man’, slept on a sofa because it was too painful for him to lie down.
He told yesterday’s hearing at Flax Bourton coroner’s court, Bristol: ‘In recent years he suffered from bouts of depression but he had never threatened to kill himself.’
Paul even bared his ‘red raw’ chest to show the extent of the condition to those officers trying to save him on August 28 last year.
PC Piers Huggett said: ‘He complained about his doctor, that he never gave him anything but aqueous cream.
‘He had problems in his throat too. It was so bad he couldn’t eat. Paul said: "They don’t do anything – that’s what’s led me to this." ‘
He told the hearing that he spoke to Paul about Bristol Rovers, his cats and childhood memories to distract him.
PC Antony Henley, of Avon and Somerset police, said: ‘I asked Paul why he wanted to kill himself and he said no one would listen about his neck, which was red and sore.
‘He said he had trouble breathing and eating and he was reduced to eating ice cubes.’
After the hearing, David thanked all the men who had tried to save his brother and shook their hands.
He said: ‘He was a thoughtful, helpful person and would be horrified to think he had caused a problem on the bridge.’
A verdict of suicide was recorded
NOTE: The article doesn’t say whether or not the man had Morgellons but to me it doesn’t really matter, what a needless tragedy. We have each other folks, never let yourself get to this point, we have largely been abandoned but we are making progress nonetheless.