Rape-inquiry dad fell to death from bridge
AN inquest heard how a ‘bubbly and much-liked’ Manchester bank worker killed himself after his photograph was released as part of a rape investigation.
Mwitumwa Ngenda, a 30-yearold father-of-two, was in a distressed state on the morning of August 28 last year after Greater Manchester Police circulated an image of a man they wanted to question regarding an alleged rape offence.
Mr Ngenda immediately handed himself in for questioning, while making it clear he vehemently denied the allegation.
His parents, Dr Love Mwitumwa Ngenda and his wife Gladys, along with his ex-wife Beth Morgan, listened to five hours of evidence at Bradford Coroner’s Court about how their son fell to his death from Rainbow Bridge which spans the M62 at Scammonden near Huddersfield.
Although he was a ‘bubbly and much-liked’ bank worker at RBS in Manchester, he had a history of depression and suffered anxiety attacks, the hearing was told.
On the morning of his death he had borrowed his sister’s Peugeot to drive to the bridge.
Coroner Martin Fleming heard how Pc Michael Caulfield desperately tried to talk Mr Ngenda down. In written evidence read to the court, he told how he did everything possible to stop him leaping and how he had recorded their conversation on his body camera.
The officer asked Mr Ngenda to tell his story and he spoke about the rape allegation, which was made on July 8.
Pc Caulfield recalled: “Someone had made an allegation and it would be in the papers. I said I would spend all day there if required. He said he didn’t want to be arrested and in handcuffs.
“He told me to step back. At one time I managed to get him to smile. He didn’t come back over the barrier and at 7.40am, he let go and fell from my sight onto the carriageway. I was shocked at what had happened and I composed myself as best I could.”
Later Mr Ngenda’s parents watched their son’s final, harrowing conversation with the officer as recorded on his body camera.
A transcript of the remarks was then read to the court and it was described by Mr Fleming as ‘undeniably the most distressing transcript I have had to listen to.’
Pc Caulfield told Mr Ngenda: “You have got me for as long as it takes. You will have a mate for life. If you want a cuddle we will have a man cuddle.”
When Mr Ngenda, who lived at his parents’ address in Idle, Bradford, told him not to worry, the officer replied: “I do, it’s my job.”
A pathologist said he died from multiple injuries and death would have been instantaneous.
The court heard an internal investigation by Det Sgt Deborah Wood of GMP was carried out to see how the force had conducted itself regarding the rape allegation and the release of the press appeal. She found there was nothing amiss.
Coroner Mr Fleming said: “He was properly risk-assessed and driven back to his home address. There was an incident the next day and he was taken in by police. He seemed a little bit under the weather.”
He said there had been a ‘worrying exchange of text messages’ between Mr Ngenda and two friends just before his death which made clear ‘his intention to end his life.’ “It’s clear that the criminal allegation against him was weighing very heavily on his mind,” Mr Fleming added.
Recording a conclusion of suicide, the coroner said the breakdown of Mr Ngenda’s marriage, and separation from his children, had not helped. “It’s clear that these developments were the catalyst to put him in a very dark place indeed,” Mr Fleming said.