M32 bridge climber could face jail term
THE second man who brought central Bristol to a standstill when he threatened to jump from a bridge over the M32 last week could face a prison sentence of up to six months.
Nicky Lee Hughes, 25, right, of no fixed address, also urinated onto the carriageway during a two-hour stand-off with Avon and Somerset police last Wednesday evening.
At Bristol Magistrates' Court, Hughes admitted causing a public nuisance on the walkway coming from Gatton Road, St Werburgh's.
As previously reported, police closed the M32 – the main route in and out of the city centre – to ensure the safety of drivers for the second time in successive days, causing gridlock across the city centre.
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But, for the first time, the Post can reveal how the incident started and why Hughes acted the way he did.
Prosecuting, Jeremy Oliver said Hughes was on the bridge at 5.24pm and when police approached he threatened to jump.
He demanded to speak to an Inspector, but even when one came to the scene, Hughes told him to F-off.
A negotiator was brought in to help and after a "protracted period of negotiation", Mr Oliver said Hughes still refused to come down and urinated on the by-now empty carriageway below. He also started throwing things from his rucksack onto the road, the court heard. By 7.35pm, the police decided to change their tactic and get a number of lorries to park under the bridge so that if Hughes did jump, it would not have been as big a fall. With those in place, officers moved in and grabbed him by the wrist before hand-cuffing and arresting him.
Mitigating, Will Palmer said his client, who had been drinking that evening, had recently lost his housing association accommodation and was experiencing family problems.
"It just became too much for him. It was a cry for help," he added.
Mr Hughes told the court he had never intended to cause any trouble and had initially intended to sit on the bridge and watch the sunset while drinking a few beers.
He told police in interview that part of the way he acted was a protest at what he perceived as a lack of help available to him to address his lack of housing, and mental health problems.
He said the stand-off got to a point where he feared the consequences due to the fact he was on licence from a previous prison sentence.
"My only choice was to jump or go back to prison," he told police.
Hughes was bailed and the case adjourned for probation to find him temporary accommodation.