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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 17 July, 2018
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Bolton man who dropped a three-year-old girl from a bridge jailed for 14 years

An officer at the scene removed the child from the water and carried her to safety.

Damien Smith was found guilty and sentenced yesterday.
Damien Smith was found guilty and sentenced yesterday.
Image: Greater Manchester Police

A MAN WHO dropped a three-year-old girl from a bridge into a river following a standoff with police has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Damien Smith (40) of Le Gendre Street in Bolton was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court yesterday after being found guilty of section 18 assault.

Police had attended the scene at Crompton Way in Bolton’s Astley Bridge area at around 8.30pm on Friday 29 September last year, after reports of a man standing on a bridge threatening to drop a child into the river below.

Negotiators spoke with the man while officers waded into the water should the child have fallen. The man then did drop the girl more than 40 feet into shallow water.

An officer who was already in the river was able to quickly reach her after she entered the water, and brought her to safety.

She was taken to hospital and treated for a broken arm, and injuries to her back. She has since made a full recovery.

Smith then jumped from the bridge himself, and sustained minor injuries. When he was arrested, officers said he was smelling of alcohol and drugs.

He is said to have told witnesses that the girl had been taken over by aliens. He was detained under the mental health act, but later deemed fit to stand trial.

Detective sergeant Joanne Little called it a “heart-breaking incident”.

She said: “I’m so thankful that the little girl was able to recover from her injuries. The worst case scenario doesn’t bear thinking about.

Sometimes we can’t stop individuals from carrying out their threats, on this occasion the officers were left badly affected by what they witnessed, but they did the best they could for the little girl and she was taken to safety before any further harm could come to her.
My heart breaks when I think of the trauma that little girl went through that evening.

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Sean Murray

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