Jogger appeal after mystery death at canal bridge in Skipton

Craven Herald: Police equipment at the bridge on the morning after the incident Police equipment at the bridge on the morning after the incident

Bus passengers and a jogger could help police solve the mystery of a man who was found dead at the bottom of canal bridge steps in Skipton.

The 68-year-old from Threshfield, who has not yet been named, was found with serious head injuries at the bottom of the steps leading to Gas Street.

He was discovered at around 6.45pm on Thursday, and was taken to Airedale Hospital where he died from his injuries later the same evening .

Police want to speak to passengers on the 72 Threshfield bus, used by the man to get to Skipton, and a passer-by, believed to be a jogger, who stopped to help.

The bridge, the responsibility of the Canal and River Trust, is a well-used route from the bus station to Cavendish Street.

More than a year ago, the surface of the footbridge was replaced following complaints that it was unsafe.

Skipton councillor Polly English said she had contacted highways officers who had in turn notified the trust, which had carried out the repairs.

“It was a safety hazard at the time as the plywood surface was lifting, but I’ve not been aware of any complaints about it now, although it is not an easy bridge to negotiate, I always have to hang onto the railing,” she said.

During the annual Waterway Festival, which brings thousands of visitors into the town, town council officers also keep a watchful eye on the number of spectators on the footbridge for safety reasons.

But there have been no previous safety concerns over the condition of the steps.

The man who died, who is expected to be named later this week, is described as 5ft 7ins tall with grey, balding hair. He wore glasses and was wearing a blue coloured Barbour-style waxed jacket, blue jeans and brown shoes.

Detective Sergeant Alan Browne, of Skipton CID, said the man’s death remained a mystery.

“At the moment, his death remains unexplained and to assist our inquiries, we are looking for anyone who saw him prior to the incident, including bus passengers on the 72 bus, and anyone who saw him walking from the bus station over the bridge towards Gas Street.

“We would particularly like to speak to a man, who we believe was jogging in the area and stopped at the scene to help. If you are the person who stopped, we urge you to contact the police as soon as possible.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Skipton CID by telephoning police on 101, selecting option 2 and asking for Skipton CID.

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