A HERO father-of-two has won a police commendation for risking his life to save a young woman threatening to jump from a motorway bridge. Passing motorist Lee Paul helped rescue the woman aged around 30 who had climbed over the barriers on a flyover above the M61 between Junctions 3 and 4. His heroics on October 31 earned him a Citizen’s Commendation from Greater Manchester Police’s Chief Constable Ian Hopkins.
The drama unfolded while the plumber and heating engineer was driving his van with passenger son Jordan, then 16, from Walkden to Farnworth travelling northbound along the A575 Worsley Road flyover. Mr Paul, aged 45, stopped his van and approached the distraught young woman. The father-of-two looked back at his son and made a signal with his hands to indicate the teenager should dial 999.
He said: “I grabbed her arm and pulled her back. I tried to calm her down and talk to her and after a bit she did start to talk to me. “It felt like forever but it was five or six minutes. I couldn’t hear anything else — all I could hear was me and her.”
Mr Paul tried to put her at ease by discussing her troubles and her family. He said: “I really getting emotional and it was really intense and really hard. I had never done anything like that before and I have had no training. It was just instinct.”
When a police officer arrived the woman became more agitated and upset and began screaming as she thought she was going to be arrested. However the two men reassured the woman and finally helped her back over the barriers. The victim was led to an ambulance and taken to hospital.
Mr Paul said: “To this day, I still think to myself what made me do it. It must have been the kind of person I am. “I know if I had driven past and not done anything and then gone back and seen flowers at the side of the road I would have felt so guilty and bad.”
Mr Paul, of Swinton, collected his certificate with wife Tammy, aged 40, in February in front of Jordan, aged 17, and younger son Bradley, aged 16. The day after the ordeal young woman later rang Mr Paul from her hospital bed to apologise for putting him in danger and to thank him for his selfless actions. They have not kept in touch but Mr Paul said: “I just hope she’s OK and getting on with her life, and I hope that day I changed her life.”