Manchester

Man stole death fall woman's handbag in Salford

m602 Image copyright David Dixon/Geograph
Image caption Linda Clarke was seen sitting on a bridge over the M602 in Salford

A man has admitted stealing the handbag of a female carer after she fell to her death from a motorway bridge.

Sean Earle snatched the bag of Linda Clarke, who had cut her wrists and walked out of hospital before sitting on a ledge over the M602 in Salford.

After she fell to the ground, the 26-year-old "saw his opportunity" to steal her bag before running off, Manchester and Salford Magistrates' Court heard.

Earle, of Trevelyan Street, Salford, was bailed until sentencing on 17 July.

CCTV footage

Mrs Clarke, who had two daughters and was a full-time carer of her autistic son, walked out of Salford Royal Hospital in the early hours of 17 April.

CCTV footage showed Earle walking the same way before approaching her as she made her way to the bridge nearby.

A driver, who saw Mrs Clarke and Earle on the bridge, decided to turn back to check on her welfare.

He saw Earle running away and realised the 55-year-old woman had "gone over the wall and is lying on the carriageway", prosecutor Shazia Aslam said.

Police were called but Mrs Clarke, who was also a grandmother, was pronounced dead in hospital.

'Added to our pain'

It was then discovered that her handbag was missing and a policeman identified Earle from the CCTV footage.

In a victim impact statement, Mrs Clarke's husband Gary said his wife's death had devastated the family and Earle had "added to our pain" with his "despicable" theft.

Lorna Wincote, defending, said Earle was not charged with anything related to Mrs Clarke's death after an "extensive" police investigation.

"He is also a person who suffers from his own mental health issues," she added.

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