Marsden Grotto escaped man found dead at foot of cliffs

Marsden Grotto A lift links the Marsden Grotto to its car park at the top of the cliffs

A man has been found dead at the bottom of cliffs moments after escaping from a police vehicle.

Karl Carson's body was discovered next to Marsden Grotto cliffs, South Shields, just after 01:00 BST.

Northumbria Police had earlier arrested the 26-year-old, of Boldon Colliery, in connection with a fight and put him inside the police vehicle.

The force said it had referred the incident to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Assistant Chief Constable Winton Keenen said: "This is an incredibly tragic incident and our thoughts are very much with the family and friends of Mr Carson.

"Specialist officers are providing support to the family and I'd like to reassure people that we're working closely with the IPCC to establish the full details of this incident."

'Ran off'

Police had been called to the area at about 00:30 BST after a report of a group of people fighting in the car park of the Marsden Grotto pub on Coast Road.

A spokesman said: "Officers were in the process of arresting a second man in connection with the disorder when the prisoner inside the police vehicle escaped and ran off from officers.

"Inquiries were carried out to locate him and at 01:03 his body was found at the bottom of Marsden Grotto cliffs."

An air ambulance was called and the man was given cardiopulmonary resuscitation by officers until paramedics arrived.

Despite efforts to save him, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The area around the cliffs has been cordoned off while an investigation is carried out, and anyone with information about the incident has been asked to contact the force.

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