’Tombstoner’ caught on camera hurling himself into the sea

A young male jumps off the Hot Walls into the Harbour entrance.
A young male jumps off the Hot Walls into the Harbour entrance.

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POLICE have repeated warnings about ‘tombstoning’ after a man was pictured hurling himself from Old Portsmouth’s Round Tower in a life-threatening leap into the Solent.

He was part of a group of people leaping into the sea in the area – despite stark warning from police about the dangers.

Richard Baker-Jones, was volunteering with Coastwatch when he snapped the man taking his life into his hands at 1pm on Sunday.

Mr Baker-Jones said: ‘We’re highly conscious of that beach.’

‘The coastguard always asks us to watch the tombstoners because there’s a possibility that some of them might not come up

‘I’ve never seen them doing it off the top of the Round Tower.

‘It’s highly dangerous. It was quite a jump.’

Acting Inspector Rob Sutton said: ‘If you jump into the sea from the Hot Walls you’re putting your life in danger because you can never be sure how deep the water is and what’s beneath it.

‘Tombstoning can end in death or significant, life-changing injuries.

‘As we’ve sadly seen all too often this summer, any activity at the seaside or by water can be dangerous and end in tragic circumstances and people need to be mindful of that.

‘If someone’s life is in danger in the water always call 999 and ask for the coastguard or the police.

‘All agencies take tombstoning very seriously and if you see people jumping into the water from a height, you can always contact the council’s local community wardens to let them know it’s happening.

The tombstoners were spotted less than a month after heroic Marco Araujo, 33, went missing after leaping into the water to rescue four-year-old Destiny Butcher and cousin Courtney, 10, when they fell in.

His body was later washed up in Portsmouth Harbour.

Sgt Sutton said: ‘There’s nothing wrong with reminding those involved in tombstoning there and then that what they’re doing is dangerous and they’re putting their lives at risk.

‘Hopefully, if more people do that as it’s happening, the message will get through.

‘Big groups of youngsters involved in tombstoning can also bring with it a lot of noise and rowdy behaviour.

‘This is often just young people having fun, but if it gets out of hand, we have powers in place to disperse large groups of people.’