A recent Inquest into the death of Gareth Dudman, who died after jumping off the top of Manchester’s Arndale Centre, heard that a passer-by had shockingly shouted ‘jump!’ whilst Mr. Dudman was stood on the ledge. The Coroner, Mr. Nigel Meadows, was openly appalled at the behaviour and stated; “I am aware of similar incidents throughout the country. It is utterly inappropriate and abhorrent.’

Police negotiators spent six hours, in cold and wet conditions, attempting to coax Mr. Dudman, 42, down from the top of the Arndale’s car park. It was during this time that a member of the public shouted for him to ‘jump’. The shopper was arrested, removed from the scene, and threatened with prosecution if he returned.

The Inquest heard that the incident occurred after Mr. Dudman had failed to keep his 10am appointment at Longsight police station. He was set to be interviewed about an alleged crime. Fiona Gorham, Mr. Dudman’s partner, revealed that Mr. Dudman had become very anxious about the police interview but had refused to let her accompany him to the station.

Detective Sergeant Matthew Todd (main negotiator) gave evidence at the Inquest, stating that Mr. Dudman had been in a state of calm and ‘very much a gentleman’ throughout the negotiations. However, despite the negotiations seeming to go well, Mr. Dudman deliberately fell backwards off the ledge.

Mr. Todd said that he heard the comments shouted by the passer-by but was unsure whether Mr. Dudman had heard them. He stated that if Mr. Dudman had heard them, he did not seem to react. Mr. Todd also stated that the comments were made some time before his death.

The Coroner concluded that he was satisfied that Mr. Dudman had taken his own life, commenting; “It was clearly a deliberate act and I don’t think the police could have done anything more. All the appropriate steps were taken to protect Gareth. Ultimately it was not successful which is really tragic.’

By Kelly Darlington,
Inquest Solicitor in Manchester