Man’s ‘foolish and reckless’ actions obstructed police dealing with distressed female

High Peak Magistrates Court, Buxton.
High Peak Magistrates Court, Buxton.

A New Mills man obstructed police who were trying to deal with a distressed woman they feared had been going to jump into the river at the Torrs, a court heard.

Police were called on the afternoon of March 6 after reports were received about a woman standing on the parapet above the weir, High Peak Magistrates’ Court heard.

As officers spoke to the woman who had moved away from the wall, wanting to get her to a place of safety, John Terrance Walton, who had also been in the Torrs, got involved.

Jennifer Fitzgerald, prosecuting, said Walton, who appeared to officers to be under the influence of alcohol, was told not to get involved but ran to the fence next to the weir.

The officer thought Walton was about to jump into the water, which was fast flowing and in flood.

“He had to stop assisting his colleague as this defendant jumped over the fence. The defendant ran across the wall above the weir before standing on a stone structure,” said Ms Fitzgerald.

The officer shouted at Walton to come back but he made a move as if to jump into the river, before he did come back over the fence.

When interviewed Walton initially said police had been out of order in how they had been dealing with the woman, but admitted he had made matters worse.

Walton, 37, of Mellor Road, admitted obstructing police.

Kirsten Collings, defending, said: “The facts are somewhat unusual. I don’t think you will have heard facts like that before.”

She said the defendant, who denied he had been drinking, had been out for a ride on his bicycle and had not intended to get involved.

“The woman appeared to be going to jump, that is certainly the report the police got,” Ms Collings said.

She said police were trying to talk her down and Walton became a nuisance to the police once the female was off the bridge. In interview, Walton said his actions were to divert attention.

Magistrate Robert Watmough told Walton: “It is quite clear your actions were rather foolish and reckless.

“Clearly this was an already delicate situation for the lady involved.

“You didn’t help anyone by those actions.”

Walton was fined £165 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £20 surcharge.