Blurton school caretaker awarded for stopping man 'jumping off' bridge
SCHOOL caretaker Steven Meredith has received a police award after stopping a suicidal man jumping onto the A50.
Motorist Steven stopped his car to help the man who was standing close to a safety barrier on a bridge over the dual carriageway.
The man then climbed over the barrier at the Heron Cross roundabout and told Steven he was going to jump onto the road.
But Steven spent the next 12 minutes trying to talk the man down, while his wife Janet told police what was going on over the phone from inside their car.
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The man, who Steven had never seen before or since, eventually stepped back onto the safe side of the barrier and ran off.
Now the 51-year-old has been awarded a certificate of appreciation from Staffordshire Police in recognition of his 'selfless and courageous action' on September 20 last year.
Officers praised Steven, who had spent 15 years as a special constable with the Staffordshire force, for showing 'real humanity' and acting in spite of serious risk to himself.
Police believe the man would have jumped to his death without Steven's actions.
Recalling the night, Steven, of Tennyson Gardens, Blurton, said: "We were coming back from seeing my mum in hospital at about 8.20pm when I saw the man near to the bridge. I just knew it wasn't right.
"I'm not the sort of person who could have seen it and not stopped so I went around the roundabout, parked up and got out of the car.
"I walked over to the man who was stood next to the railings and he said he'd had enough of life and was going to jump off.
"I started talking to him and said I wouldn't come too close to him because I didn't want to put him under anymore stress, and I was also worried he might grab hold of me and pull me over. While I was there he climbed over to the other side of the barrier and he was saying he was waiting for a van to jump in front of."
Steven, who is employed as site manager at Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy, in Blurton, kept telling the man not to jump and that he could get help for his problems.
He said: "When the man climbed back over and ran off I was relieved but it took a while for what had happened to actually sink in.
"I was talking to him for 12 minutes but it seemed like an eternity and it stayed on my mind for quite a while. It's nice to be recognised by the police for what I did and if I was in that situation again, I'd do the same thing without doubt."
The man was later tracked down by police and given help for his psychological needs.
Wife Janet, aged 51, said: "It's not the sort of situation you expect to end up in when you go out in the car but I'm very proud of Steven."