Man gets 14-year jail term after dropping girl, three, from bridge

A man has been jailed for 14 years after dropping a three-year-old girl from a bridge.

Damien Smith, 40, was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on Monday after being found guilty of section 18 assault, Greater Manchester Police said.

Police were called to Crompton Way in Astley Bridge, Bolton at about 8.30pm on September 29 last year to reports a man was threatening to drop a child into water below.

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Despite efforts of officers and specially trained negotiators, Smith, of Le Gendre Street in Bolton, dropped the girl 40 feet from the bridge into shallow water.

An officer, who was already in the river, was able to reach her and she was carried to safety, before being taken to hospital to be treated for a broken arm and injuries to her back.

Damien Smith jailed
Damien Smith jailed

Police said she has since made a full recovery.

Smith threw himself from the bridge shortly after and sustained minor injuries.

Officers said he smelt of drugs and alcohol and told witnesses 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 from GMP's Bolton borough said: "This was a heart-breaking incident and I'm so thankful that the little girl was able to recover from her injuries.

"The worst-case scenario does not bear thinking about.

"I would like to commend actions of the officers involved in the incident.

"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."