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Fine for Haslingden man who took Devil's leap
Updated 10:31am Friday 11th October 2013 in News
A HASLINGDEN man who jumped from the notorious Devil’s Bridge in Kirkby Lonsdale has been told he could have killed himself.
Jacob McFee, 24, of Manchester Road, Haslingden, was prosecuted at South Lakeland Magistrates’ Court following a summer crackdown on the craze of ‘tombstoning’ at the tourist attraction.
It is particularly dangerous to jump from the bridge because there is only a small area of deep water to land in.
He was fined £80 and ordered to pay £50 in costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
“The offence in front of us today, I am sure you realise, was a very silly thing for you to do,” said magistrate Margaret Stamper.
“It could have caused serious injury to yourself or even death, as it has done so in the past.”
His appearance at court follows a police operation using a South Lakeland District Council by-law aimed at deterring people from hurling themselves off the bridge into the River Lune.
It was originally introduced in 1998 but more attention was drawn to it following the death of 22-year-old Darrell Teal, from Manchester, who failed to surface after leaping from the bridge in July 2012.
Police patrols were stepped up and new signs warning of prosecution were fixed at either side of the bridge by the council following the tragedy.
Michael Sharkey, 24, of Gressingham Drive, Lancaster, was sentenced at Kendal a couple of weeks ago and is believed to be the first person to be fined for jumping off the bridge. He was fined £170.
And last week Gareth Turner, 33, of Regent Street, Haslingden, was fined £200 by South Lakeland magistrates after leaping from the bridge on July 13.
The case was proved in his absence.
The increase in police patrols was also prompted by South and East Cumbria Coroner Ian Smith after he publicly warned about the dangers of tombstoning at Mr Teal’s inquest.
At the inquest, Mr Smith said: “People are responsible for their own safety and there is a by-law on that bridge saying people shouldn’t jump.
“People have jumped off that bridge on a regular basis over many years.
“It’s a dangerous thing to do.
“I hope people think twice before they do this because of the warning that it’s not just potentially dangerous, but potentially fatal.”
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