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I hope I saved his life but if he'd jumped I don't know if I could have lived with myself


In this emotional interview a retired policeman describes through tears how he saved the life of a 19-year-old on a Saturday night

Walter Williams had been visiting his mother in hospital when he saw a group of people gathered at the end of a bridge.

They were pointing at something. He quickly realised they were all looking at a man he'd walked past just moments earlier.

“I saw about 10 to 12 people who were stood watching and pointing,” he said in an emotional interview the day after he may well have saved the life of a 19-year-old.

“I thought why aren't they walking over the bridge? And then I looked at where they were pointing and I saw this chap who I'd just passed five yards earlier. And I thought, 'My God'.”

The retired Cardiff police officer with 30 years service was confronted with the sight of a teenager on a bridge and decided to go towards him.

He stood talking to the 19-year-old for around 45 minutes before finally persuading him to come to safety.

During that time the pair exchanged stories, and at one point they both broke down in tears. The young man finally agreed to step to safety after telling Mr Williams he “wanted a hug”.

In an interview in which he struggled to hold back the emotions of what he had been through, Mr Williams said: “What would any normal person do? I thought ‘I’m going to chat to him’.

“He was crying and he said he wanted to end his life. He was 19 so I said ‘I wish I could go back to 19. You have got your whole life and the world in front of you’.

 Watch Walters emotional account here

“He said ‘I’ve told my mother I am going to kill myself and that’s what I am going to do’. I started chatting to him about two children I had lost and I asked if he knew anyone who had lost two children.”
As they had been talking, police officers had arrived and were positioned at the end of the bridge. But after about 30 minutes, Mr Williams feared he wouldn't be able to talk the young man down.

“I had a word with the police officer but he told me to keep him talking. I told him to come down, and I’ll get him steak and chips and I would take him home to meet my wife. I was with him for 45 minutes,” said Mr Williams.

“God knows how long he was there before. Anyhow, I think the final crunch came when I said he was still crying and he said ‘Will you hug me?’ I said, ‘Course I will, come on down’.

“He jumped down and the police arrived and he was taken in a patrol car. I felt quite proud and chuffed that I’d hopefully saved someone’s life.

“If he’d jumped I don’t know what I’d have done. I don’t know whether I’d be able to live with myself for not being able to talk him down.”

Police stopped traffic both ways on the A48 on Saturday evening.Police said they detained a man for his own safety took him to a safe environment.

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Friday, 05 June 2020

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