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Desperate moments.

THIS was the moment a despairing dad sat on the edge of a 350ft cliff deciding whether to live or die.

Just yards away sit police, patiently trying to persuade him to come away. Seconds after this picture was taken they succeeded.

But there was another nervy moment to come when the father-of-one struggled to haul himself to safety.

Local bobby PC Dave Catt had to venture out to the edge using a special harness. After the drama, PC Catt said: "He was 100 per cent adamant that he was going to go over - he wasn't an attention seeker."

The man sat with his legs dangling over Beachy Head, Eastbourne's notorious suicide cliff, for more than an hour determined to kill himself. A trained negotiator arrived but by then he had already agreed not to jump.

Police had been alerted to the man, from Portslade, East Sussex, by his wife. He was detained under the mental health act.

The incident happened just 24 hours after a woman jumped to her death off the cliff while out with her social worker.

Sergeant Nick Wainwright said: "Out of all the calls we get I would say about half of those people actually jump. An estimate would be around 50 people per year.

"If the police get to the person before they have gone we can usually talk them out of it."
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Author:Rabbetts, Barry
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 14, 1999
Words:229
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