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Praise for woman who talked 'emotional' teenager down from Ilfracombe scaffolding

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: February 06, 2013

  • EMPATHY: Christine Tew, pictured here with her husband Paul on the balcony of their fore Street home, came to the aid of a desperate teenager. @Picture: Rob TIbbles. To order this photograph call 0844 4060 269 and quote Ref: BNRT20130201B-007_C

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A WOMAN who talked an emotional teenager down from a 40ft high scaffolding tower has been praised by police officers.

North Devon Sector Inspector Roger Bartlett commended Ilfracombe resident Christine Tew, 60, on her goodwill and believes she could well have saved the 18-year-old man’s life.

Christine, a retired life coach of Clifton House on Fore Street, said she hoped anyone else would have done the same in her position.

Christine said her and her husband Paul had been sat in their third storey flat watching Top Gear on Sunday, January 27, when someone walked past the window.

She said: “Obviously this was very unusual given how high up we are.

“I went over to our bay window in the lounge and saw a young looking lad sat on the edge of the scaffolding on the wrong side of the handrail.

“I opened the window to see what he was doing and he moved even closer to the edge.

“I was really worried for his safety.”

Christine, who retired to Ilfracombe from Leicester three years ago, told her husband to call 999 while she tried to talk to the teen.

She said: “I could see he was obviously upset about something, he had clearly hit rock bottom and wanted to be alone.

“I asked him a few questions to find out what was wrong and eventually he opened up.

“He told me he had split up from his girlfriend and couldn’t get a job.

“He was also living on his own in a B&B which wasn’t very nice for him.

“He was clearly very low and wasn’t thinking straight, he looked like he might have gone over the edge.”

Christine persuaded the young man to move away from the edge of the scaffolding.

She said: “The police arrived within about 15 minutes and managed to get him inside before taking him away.

“There’s not a lot round here for young people to do and I really felt for the young man, he was in a hell of a state.

“I’d hope that anyone else would have done what I did but, to be honest, people don’t have much empathy for young people.”

Mr Bartlett was so impressed with Christine’s involvement that he wrote to thank her.

In his letter he said: “I’m writing to express my sincere thanks for your involvement in a very difficult and dangerous situation.

“It was clear that the young man was emotionally unstable and without your intervention he could well have jumped or fallen from the structure and been seriously injured or even killed.

“Many people would not have done what you did and you should be very proud of your actions that may well have saved this young man’s life.

“Without good willed people such as yourselves, the work of the local policing team, in seeking to protect people from harm, would be infinitely more difficult.”

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