North Yorkshire woman who repeatedly threatened to jump off A19 bridge causing full road closures is jailed as judge describes behaviour as 'attention seeking of its worst kind'
Bethany De Cogan, 21, threatened to jump from a bridge on the A19 near Thirsk on February 8, September 28, October 4, last year, causing the road to fully close more than once while emergency services
York Crown Court heard how De Cogan, of Kilburn village, was previously given a Criminal Behaviour Order for causing massive disruption on the East Coast Main Line in May 2019. After drinking alcohol, she lay on the level crossing at Northallerton. The incident led to 123 minutes of delays and cost railways companies over £10,000. There were similar incidents in June that year.
The order prevented her from going to the Northallerton and Thirsk railway stations, except for legitimate reasons, and also from calling the emergency services, except for a genuine purpose.
Prosecuting Michael Bosomworth explained how members of the public had come across De Cogan on the bridge on several occasions, threatening to jump. The 21-year-old had also called the emergency services herself after drinking nearly a whole bottle of gin and threatened to jump.
He said: "On October 4, 2020, the ambulance service received a call stating she was on the wrong side of the bridge over the A19. She was asking for help and stated that if the police attended she would jump. When police arrived they closed the A19.
"She was drunk and had a nearly-empty bottle of gin. The officers managed to get her to safety.
"A few weeks later, she ended up on the same bridge over the A19. A police officer and a member of the public brought her to safety.
"On both occasions the A19 was closed for a considerable period of time."
The court also heard how De Cogan had repeatedly attacked both police officers and ambulance staff who had tried to help her.
De Cogan pleaded guilty to six breaches of her CBO.
In mitigation, Chris Morrison said a psychiatric report done on De Cogan revealed she has a personality disorder.
"This will never be tackled unless she stops drinking," he said.
"Alcohol has blighted her entire life.She has had a difficult upbringing and there have been periods of her life where she has been emotionally overwhelmed.
"She needs proper engagement with the mental health team and support for her.
"She has been using alcohol as a painkiller."
The Recorder of York, Judge Sean Morris sentenced De Cogan to two years and seven months in prison.
He said: "You have been before the courts again and again and again for causing problems with the emergency services and wandering on the railway lines, breaching your CBO.
"The route cause of this is you are a chronic alcoholic, you certainly do have a severe personality disorder as well. Having read both reports on you, Doctor Green says that this is going to continue, however it will not be tackled unless your alcohol abuse is tackled first.
"The best thing for you is to have a prolonged period of abstinence.
"These are serious and persistent breaches and serious cases of antisocial behaviour. I have to consider that members of the public had helped pull you off the bridge - in reality, I don't think you had any reality of jumping.
"This was attention seeking of its worst kind. The A19 had to be closed on two occasions."
Commenting on her repeated calls to the emergency services, Judge Morris said: "These people are there to help the public and by you constantly calling them you may put other people's lives at risk."