Brave Sunderland student hailed for trying to save man who jumped from Wearmouth Bridge

Wearmouth Bridge
Wearmouth Bridge

A student has been hailed for her bravery after she tried to save a man who died after he jumped into water off Wearmouth Bridge.

John Charles McIvor, 36, known as “Joe”, was seen by witnesses to jump from the bridge on the afternoon of Thursday, April 20, this year.

Emergency services on the riverside near Wearmouth Bridge on Thursday, April 20, 2017.

Emergency services on the riverside near Wearmouth Bridge on Thursday, April 20, 2017.

Student Gracie Wilkins, studying at Sunderland University, saw what happened and got into the River Wear to try and save the self-employed car dealer, an inquest at Sunderland Coroner’s Court heard.

She managed to pull him to the river side at Panns Bank.

Sadly, Mr McIvor, of Ryhope, could not be resuscitated after the incident by the emergency services and was pronounced dead a short time later.

Coroner’s officer Neville Dixon told the hearing: “Mr McIvor parked his car and walked onto the bridge and when he got there he jumped into the river.

“A student entered the water and towed him to the side and attempted CPR.

“Sadly he was pronounced dead at 3.24pm that day.

“A witness suggests that Joe was being followed by another male and this has been established, but he was not being chased.

“He was in debt civilly.”

Home Office pathologist Dr Jennifer Bolton found that the cause of Mr McIvor’s death was drowning, with Sunderland Coroner Derek Winter recording a conclusion of suicide in the case.

Mr Winter said: “I would like to commend and thank the actions of Gracie Wilkins.

“This was a selfless act of bravery on her part and despite her actions Joe could not be saved.”

Mr Winter added that a witness had said while giving evidence: “I would just like to add that the young woman who jumped in the water deserves a medal for bravery.

“It was amazing what she done (sic) for the man.”

Mr Winter said: “Joe had immense personal difficulties.

“If I am to record a conclusion of suicide I need to be sure that he intended to commit that particular act.

“I have to draw the conclusion on the evidence presented that it is one of a suicide.”