Jamie Snow inquest: Body of man who slipped and fell from Humber Bridge was not found until six months later in Crown Estate village in Yorkshire
James Christian Snow, known as Jamie, was seen falling into the river on September 18, 2022, after his family and friends had become concerned about his welfare.
The manager of a National Tyres and Autocare branch in Hull had recently separated from the mother of his daughter and was stressed about changes at work, an inquest at Hull Coroner’s Court was told on Friday.
Two police officers and Bridge Authority staff attempted to talk to Mr Snow when they saw him on the wrong side of the railings, but he engaged only minimally with them and fell from a narrow ledge while he was trying to sit down. He was observed trying to grab onto a hold to save himself, and was heard shouting for help for several minutes once he had entered the water.
Despite police and Coastguard searches, Mr Snow could not be located and his skeletal remains were discovered in February 2023 by members of the public at Sunk Island, a reclaimed village owned by the Crown Estate on the Humber Estuary.
Mr Snow’s mother, Jane, told the hearing that she and her former husband, a Merchant Navy sailor, had adopted their son as a baby in 1988. As a child, he played football and was in the Army Cadets, and though ‘sociable and happy’, after his parents divorced he lost contact with his father and their relationship broke down completely.
Mr Snow loved cars, and after qualifying as a mechanic at Hull College, became a tyre fitter at the branch he eventually ended up managing. He met his partner, Lauren Sullivan, through their mutual interest in modified cars, and they had their daughter in 2016.
Mrs Snow said that Jamie had become anxious about change at work following Halfords’ takeover of National Tyres and Autocare in 2021, following which the area manager, whom he had been close to, was made redundant and staff struggled with a new IT system that was introduced. In September 2022, he moved in with his mother after Miss Sullivan decided to end their relationship.
Mrs Snow described her son as ‘loyal, helpful and with a sensitive side’ but felt he ‘believed he was losing everything’ after the break-up.
Miss Sullivan also gave evidence, and confirmed that Mr Snow struggled to talk about his emotions and could be short-tempered. She ended the relationship because of his temper flare-ups and refusal to seek help for them, and said that on the 18th he became upset when she told him there was not much chance of them reconciling.
He told both her and his mother that he was sorry before setting off for the Humber Bridge, and posted on his Facebook page that he had ‘checked out’.
His best friend, Daniel Anderson, told the inquest that Mr Snow had had a previous episode in 2020 when he became upset at a party and threatened to jump into St Andrew’s Quay, which he did not tell anyone about until after his friend’s death.
The assistant manager of the tyre centre, Nathan Holmes, said he believed his colleague had his confidence knocked by the Halfords takeover and was struggling because he did not like change.
Evidence was heard from two police constables, Callum Cockerill and David Garbutt, who were called by Humber Bridge Authority staff and attended the scene. They said that although Mr Snow appeared calm and was not intoxicated, he did not want to enter into conversation with them. Neither believed he had intended to jump and thought he had lost his footing accidentally, and coroner Professor Paul Marks agreed that their bodyworn camera footage supported this account of the incident.
A mandatory referral was made to the Independent Office for Police Complaints, who found that an investigation into Humberside Police’s response was not necessary and that they had conducted themselves appropriately by giving Mr Snow space and trying to build a rapport with him. No concerns with the river search were identified and the IOPC concluded that the police officers’ actions had likely prevented him from deliberately jumping.
Professor Marks recorded a conclusion of accidental death, stating that witness evidence ‘suggested that negotiations were starting to be successful and that Jamie did not want to die at that point’.