1. ITV Report

Homeless woman living in Stockport cave injured in 30-foot fall

Credit: MEN Syndication

A woman who broke her spine falling 30 feet down a steep embankment into a river was homeless and known to a Stockport charity that helps rough sleepers.

The 32-year-old was living in a network of caves near the town centre, where homeless people frequently seek shelter, with her partner.

Credit: MEN Syndication

Charity workers have warned of how dangerous the area is and called for better provision for rough sleepers so they would not put themselves at risk by staying there.

The women fell down an embankment near Stockport Pyramid, used to access the caves, shortly after 7pm on Friday.

She is understood to have fractured her spine in two places and is still being treated in Wythenshawe Hospital.

Credit: MEN Syndication

Five fire engines, a water incident unit, two police cars, a tactical response unit and two ambulances all attended the scene off Brinksway.

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It took more than three hours before specialist water rescue firefighters managed to recover her on a dinghy.

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The hidden caves perched on a 20 foot precipice overhanging the River Mersey have become a home for many without shelter in the past few years.

Credit: MEN Syndication

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News earlier this year Jonathan Billings from the Wellspring homeless charity warned someone would soon be seriously hurt using the caves as a home.

“I know of people who have fallen into the river and I know this woman’s partner fell down there. She’s broken her back in two places. She was known to us and was a rough sleeper."

“I’m planning to visit her in hospital tomorrow. I feared something like this would happen."

“If you look at the sheer cost of this incident and the treatment she’s going to need, it proves how much more needs to be done about homelessness."

“If there were better services for homeless people, things like this wouldn’t happen. Investing in homeless provision is vital.”

– Jonathan Billings