M32 bridge climber: I apologise to public, but not to the police
A MAN who brought Bristol to a standstill by threatening to jump off a footbridge over the M32 has apologised to the people of the city.
Nicky Hughes, 25, also urinated onto the carriageway during a two-hour stand-off with Avon and Somerset police on September 12.
After being spared immediate jail by District Judge Simon Cooper at the city's magistrates' court yesterday, Hughes told the Post: "I apologise to the members of the public for the disruption that it caused, and the emergency services in general, but I don't apologise to the police or any of the other organisations in the city."
Hughes, of Logos House, Wade Street, admitted causing a public nuisance on the walkway coming from Gatton Road, St Werburgh's.
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Police were forced to close the M32 on safety grounds for the second time in successive days, causing gridlock.
Hughes was seen on the bridge at 5.24pm and when police approached him, they said he threatened to jump. He demanded to speak to an inspector but when one came to the scene, Hughes was abusive to him.
Prosecutor Lesley Ness said a negotiator was brought in to help but Hughes still refused to come down and urinated on the now empty carriageway below. He also started throwing things from his rucksack onto the road.
It was not until almost 8pm that officers were able to grab, handcuff and arrest him.
Hughes told the Post he had personal problems at the time, had never wanted to cause the disruption and had initially intended to sit on the bridge and watch the sunset while drinking a few beers. His actions were also a protest about what he believes is a lack of support for him, and others, from housing agencies, probation and other organisations since he was released from a 28-month burglary jail term last July.
Hughes claims he was "illegally" evicted by a housing association not long before the incident and says he has lodged a complaint with the Independent Police Complaints Commission about how he was dealt with during the incident.
District Judge Cooper told Hughes he had been "selfish" and "stupid".
He said: "It created substantial and well-known public nuisance."
He imposed an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for a year, including 140 hours of unpaid work.
Schizophrenic Shane Heyman, 31, of Redfield, was previously given a one-year conditional discharge for causing a public nuisance on the same bridge on September 11.