THE family of a man who died after plunging from a bridge on to St Peter's Way have paid tribute to a “lovable rogue”.
Kyle Smith, aged 26, was hit by a car on the A666 after falling off Bradford Street bridge, where police had been trying to talk him out of a suicide attempt.
His devastated mother, Margaret Crossley, step-father Shaun Crossley, brothers Jason and Daniel Smith, and step-sister, Kylie Crossley, last spoke to Mr Smith on Christmas Day and said he seemed in good spirits.
Mr Smith, who has a six-year-old daughter, Skye, was seen standing on the wrong side of the Bradford Street bridge barrier at about 7pm on Friday.
Police were called to try to talk him round as he threatened to jump.
After officers spoke to him, Mr Smith fell from the bridge, despite officers’ attempts to hold on to him.
He was hit by a car travelling southbound on the A666 and suffered critical injuries.
Mr Smith, a former Deane School pupil, was pronounced dead at the scene a short time.
Mrs Crossley, from Breightmet, said: “He was a loveable rogue — a real cheeky chappie. He would do anything for anybody and had a heart of gold. He was a real character and loved chatting to people — he always had a good yarn to tell.
“It was such a shock when the police came round on Friday night to tell us what had happened. We’d only spoken to him on Christmas Day over the phone and everything seemed fine.
“We had no reason to suspect he was down. He adored his daughter, Skye, and had lots of friends. We’re devastated.”
It is unknown yet if Mr Smith’s death was caused by the fall or by the impact of the car.
Mrs Crossley, aged 48, said: “We have sent an apology to the driver of the vehicle through the police. We don’t know who he is, but we can’t imagine how he must feel.
“We have been left really upset by some of the comments online from people who didn’t know Kyle. Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about that.
“But there have also been some really nice messages left to us on Facebook from Kyle’s friends, which we appreciate.”
The family are waiting for a post mortem examination to be carried out.
PC Neil Pennington, from the police’s serious collision investigation unit, said: “Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time and they are being supported by specially trained officers.
"We are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident and would ask any witnesses to come forward and tell us what they saw.”
Anyone with information can call police on 0161 8564742.