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Police forced to shut busy Exeter Road after woman climbs over bridge railings

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: January 02, 2014

By Adam Walmesley

  • A 'vulnerable' woman was seen climbing over the railings at Exe Bridges

  • The woman was first spotted under the railway bridge on Cowick Street

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A major road junction in Exeter was closed earlier today after a vulnerable woman was spotted on a bridge.

Police were forced to shut Exe Bridges to inbound traffic this morning when the 31-year-old climbed over the railings onto the “slippery edge” beside the River Exe.

Officers were called to Cowick Street at around 10.40am after the woman from the Tiverton area was seen under the railway bridge by a member of the public.

She made her way to the junction where she was sighted by police on the “wrong” side of the bridge between Okehampton Street and Bonhay Road.

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Negotiators were called to the scene and the woman came to safety by 11.20am.

The woman was later detained by police under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act - that gives them the authority to take a person from a public place to a ‘place of safety’, either for their own protection or for the protection of others.

Eyewitnesses described a “big” incident unfolding before them.

Nathan Murray, 24 from the city centre, said: “I saw a total of 12 police officers on Exe Bridges on all four corners. Traffic was stopped in all directions. You could tell it was something big.”

He also reported seeing additional police support, an ambulance and a fire engine.

“I didn’t see anyone on the bridge and police weren’t able to say,” he added.

As the incident unfolded the busy junction was closed to all traffic coming towards the scene.

Queues of cars and other vehicles built-up in the area and buses were diverted before Exe Bridges was reopened by midday.

PCSO Richard Shelton tweeted: “Thank you to motorists & pedestrians on Exe Bridge for their patience as #police colleagues dealt with serious incident this morning #exeter”

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