A hero leapt into a Chester canal to rescue a woman who had jumped in shouting ‘I don’t want to go back to prison’.
The woman jumped into the canal at Spital Walk, Boughton , after police arrived at 8.20pm on Wednesday (July 27) following reports she had broken a restraining order by going near the Richmond Court homeless hostel.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, who are equipped with water rescue equipment, were called at 9.40pm.
But a member of the public stepped in after he became concerned for her safety when her head started to go under after about an hour in the water.
The Chronicle has tracked down the rescuer who does not wish to be identified.
He said: “The woman was refusing to get out and was swimming up and down. The lock opened and she swam into it – that’s deep. She was getting tired and her head started going below the water. She was wearing a hooded top and was drunk.”
The rescuer said the emergency services were present at this point but had not entered the water on what he assumed were health and safety grounds.
“When I saw her head going down that’s when I decided to jump in myself. I grabbed her by the chest and managed to get her to the side. The emergency services came round and pulled her out over a low wall.”
The rescuer said the woman, who was in her 30s, had been shouting: “I don’t want to go back to prison”. She was taken off to hospital in an ambulance but appeared to be all right.
“She’s an extremely troubled individual,” said the resident, who understands the woman is a former resident of Richmond Court who still has connections with the hostel.
The rescuer said the community had warned the then Tory administration at Cheshire West and Chester Council about placing the homeless facility next to a deep water lock before the place opened.
“Local residents arguing against Richmond Court said this will happen and that will happen and everything we prophesised has come true,” he said.
“I said to my wife: ‘One day I will have to jump in and rescue someone'.”
He added: “I’ve never been anti-homeless in my life but I‘m against anti-social behaviour.”
The rescuer said the hostel, which can accommodate up to 36 permanent residents and six short-term residents, was ‘too big’ and ‘uncontrollable’.
“Even if you reduced it by a half it would still be too much,” explained the resident.
“I can’t see them closing it down because they have a duty of care.”
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service confirmed its attendance at the incident. North West Ambulance Service , who called at 9.41pm, took a female patient by ambulance to the Countess of Chester Hospita l.
A Cheshire Police spokeswoman said: “At 8.22pm on Wednesday 27 July 2016 police attended Richmond Terrace in Chester after reports of a woman breaching a restraining order.
“On arrival of the officers the woman jumped into the canal. Cheshire County Fire and Rescue attended to remove the woman from the canal and were helped by a member of the public and she was taken to hospital to be checked over.
“A 31-year-old woman from Wrexham was subsequently arrested on suspicion of breaching a restraining order.”
Sarah McGrady, Richmond Court service and delivery manager, who works for Foundation Enterprises, said she was ‘not in a position to comment’.
Councillor Angela Claydon, cabinet member for housing, said: "We are aware of the situation and are talking with our partners at Foundation Enterprises (NW) and the police."