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Man sent girlfriend emotional text before jumping off Archway Bridge

PUBLISHED: 19:51 29 September 2011

Three men died jumping off Archway Bridge within a month last winter. Picture: Polly Hancock

Three men died jumping off Archway Bridge within a month last winter. Picture: Polly Hancock

Polly Hancock

A man who plunged to his death from Archway Bridge sent a text to his girlfriend telling her he was “dealing with his demons” the morning he died.

Timeline of Archway Bridge deaths

Three men died jumping from Archway Bridge in as many weeks last winter.

* October 19, 2010: David Bennett, of Hillfield Mews, Hornsey, plunges to his death five days after his 33rd birthday. At the inquest into his death the coroner ruled he jumped from a bridge whilst suffering the effects of an illness with psychotic elements.

* November 5: Schizophrenic Andrew Mactier, of Priory Road, Crouch End, jumped from the bridge seven days before his 32nd birthday. The coroner ruled Mr Mactier took his own life in the context of chronic mental health issues exacerbated by drugs and alcohol use at St Pancras Coroners Court in February.

* November 10: Ryan George, 29, of Brunswick Road, Tottenham, fell from the bridge. A coroner ruled he took his own life at St Pancras Coroners Court.

David Bennett, known as Sid, of Hillfield Mews, Hornsey, jumped 60 feet to his death from the bridge, which spans Archway Road in Highgate, on October 19 last year.

He was the first of three men to fall to their deaths from the structure in as many weeks.

Barnet Coroner’s Court heard how less than an hour before his death, Mr Bennett sent his long term girlfriend Sinead Murphy an emotional text.

It contained a veiled warning that he was about to kill himself, but she only read it after his death.

The message read: “You are right, I’ve got real issues and messed up.

“I’m dealing with my demons right now.

“I know you are happier and you despise me. I’m getting on with my destiny right now.

“You are perfect the way you are, don’t change for anything.”

Mr Bennett, who died five days after his 33rd birthday, was being treated at St Ann’s hospital in Tottenham.

He was under psychiatric care for a borderline personality disorder.

Doctors and nurses on the ward told the coroner that Mr Bennett had been responding well to treatment.

They said while he had “suicidal ruminations” they did not believe he had any concrete plans to take his own life.

In a group session, however, Mr Bennett told an occupational therapist that one way to go would be to “jump off a bridge”.

On the morning of his death the 33-year-old left the hospital with another patient, telling nurses they were going to have coffee.

He then bid goodbye to his friend and made his way to the bridge, a well known suicide spot in the area.

Witnesses reported seeing him climb over the railings with a silver stepladder that was lying nearby.

He then “dived off, going forwards as if on a diving board”, said witness Hugh Brody, who saw the scene unfold. He died of multiple injuries at the scene.

Sinead’s father William Paul Murphy said Mr Bennett’s “loss has had a devastating affect” on his family.

Recording a narrative verdict, Coroner Andrew Walker said Mr Bennett died after he “jumped from a bridge over Archway Road whilst suffering the effects of an illness with psychotic elements”.

Turning to Mr Murphy, the only member of the family in court, Mr Walker added: “You have my deepest sympathies.

“Sitting here, as I so often do, I know there is nothing I will be able to say to compensate you for the loss that you have suffered.

“I hope in these answers there is some comfort.”

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