Family grief over bridge death

Scene ... the spot where John Blackburn plunged to his death
Scene ... the spot where John Blackburn plunged to his death

HEARTBROKEN family and friends of a man who fell to his death from a bridge over the St Helens Linkway say “heaven has gained an angel”.

John Thomas Blackburn, 32, suffered fatal injuries after plunging more than 30 feet from the landmark Sherdley Bridge while out walking his white boxer dog last Friday night (May 6).

Emergency crews were called to the scene on the A570 St Helens Linkway at about 10.30pm and the busy highway was swiftly sealed off for forensic examinations.

A Home Office post mortem later confirmed that Mr Blackburn, of Salhouse Gardens, Nutgrove, had suffered fatal “severe head injuries”.

Detectives released a statement on Saturday (May 7) to say that Mr Blackburn’s death was being treated as “unexplained” rather than “suspicious”.

The matter was subsequently passed on to St Helens coroner Christopher Sumner, who opened and adjourned an inquest into Mr Blackburn’s death yesterday morning (Tuesday, May 10).

Since last Friday night, more than 30 bouquets of flowers have been lovingly tied to the Sherdley Bridge - which links Sherdley Road to Sherdley Park - in Mr Blackburn’s honour.

Among the dozens of tribute messages penned by the plunge victim’s friends and family, was one which read: “Dearest John. Going to miss you so much. I’ve got so many special memories of us growing up and I will never forget you.

“Love you and miss you more than you will ever know.”

Another, written by his big sister Sharon, read: “I can’t put into words how much I miss you already. I’ll continue to miss you until the day I die.”

Others told how Mr Blackburn would be “forever in our hearts and our thoughts” and told how “heaven has gained an angel”.