Mum’s heartbreaking post about mental illness after trolls urged her son to jump from M56 bridge

Michael Cleator laid on top of the bridge for seven hours causing havoc for ‘hundreds if not thousands of people’

A mum made a heartbreaking post on social media pleading for people to understand mental health issues after Twitter trolls called for her son to throw himself from a motorway bridge.

Michael Cleator, 36, climbed on top of a metal cage safety barrier covering a bridge on the M56 causing major disruption to ‘hundreds if not thousands’ of people.

The motorway was closed for seven and a half hours and more than 30 flights fromManchester Airport had to be delayed until the motorway reopened.

Cleator, of Crispin Road, Wythenshawe , was suffering from a depression related illness and caused havoc when he went to the foot bridge between junctions four and five at around 9am on September 5 last year.

Joel Goodman
Queues built up on the M56

He pleaded guilty to causing a public nuisance at Manchester Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

On the day of the incident sick Twitter trolls called for Cleator to ‘f***ing jump’ as police negotiators tried to talk him down.

Cleator’s mum Gail Boden later wrote a passionate Facebook post criticising the troll comments and asking people to understand what people with mental health issues are going through.

Today Ms Boden said she did not want to comment on the case but wanted the MEN to use the Facebook post.

In it she wrote: “I went to work this morning early 6am happy, by 10am my world was in turmoil phone call from police … your son is on the bridge over the m56 saying hes going to jump … I broke down in tears where has this come from on this beautiful morning … my son has been on the dark side now for 3 yrs n I thought he was getting better.”

Ms Boden goes on to apologise for the inconvenience adding: “I am sorry to those who comment that he should jump so you can get on with getting to where ever it was you were going. I hope ur children however old they are never get into a place where he is now but if they did I would offer support and not troll like comments like some of you … please educate yourselves in mental health maybe you will learn about compassion and empathy on the way which would make you appreciate more in your own life and surrounding people … thankyou for understanding.”

The magistrates were told how Cleator is suffering from a severe depressive illness but is sorry for the disruption he caused.

Prosecuting, Robin Lynch said: “There is cage around the footbridge to stop people being able to jump off it. But the defendant placed himself on top of that.

Joel Goodman
Michael Cleator on the protective fence on the bridge over the M56

“Police were called and attended.

“Officers made him aware of the danger he placed himself in and talked him down.

“Because of the danger the motorway was closed for seven and a half hours causing a significant impact on the emergency services, flights and general disruption to the public.

“Over 30 flights were delayed as a result of this.”

Joel Goodman
Many people were delayed on the M56 after the road was closed and diversions put in place

Barry Cuttle, defending, said Cleator was suffering with depression and had intended to jump from the foot bridge.

He said: “Major havoc was caused to hundreds if not thousands of people. But this gentleman is suffering from a severe depressive illness. He was genuinely intending to throw himself off the bridge and end it all as the only way he thought he could escape what was going on in his head.

“He is very sorry for what he did.”

The case was adjourned while reports are made and will be sentenced next month. He was given unconditional bail.

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Joel Goodman
Police talk with the man through the railings