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Inquest hears how man jumped off Queensmere Observatory car park on Christmas Eve

A 45-year-old man from Colnbrook died after jumping off the Queensmere Observatory Shopping Centre car park on Christmas Eve, an inquest has heard.

Jose Bernardo, from Crown Meadow, jumped from the top storey of the car park at about 4.15pm and landed on a service road.

In a witness statement read out at the inquest at Reading Town Hall this morning (Thursday), sales assistant James Evans said he noticed Mr Bernardo fall after stepping outside for a cigarette with a colleague and ran to assist him.

“I was telling him that everything was going to be OK as I wanted him to know that someone was there with him,” said Mr Evans, who was on the phone to emergency services.

Colleague Calvin Brown, said he ‘froze on the spot in shock’ after he heard the fall and saw Mr Bernardo.

Thames Valley Police attended the scene at about 4.30pm and attempted first aid and CPR and were joined by South Central Ambulance Service five minutes later.

Despite their efforts to resuscitate him, CPR was stopped at 5pm.

Assistant Coroner Emma Jones noted five relatively small stab wounds on Mr Bernardo’s upper body — however these were old and did not contribute to his death.

CCTV footage showed Mr Bernardo entering the High Street shopping centre at about 3.30pm and making his way to the edge of the car park’s top floor, the inquest heard.

He then walked back down and sat on a bench for about 10 minutes before heading back up and jumping off.

A toxicology report showed no drugs or alcohol in Mr Bernardo’s system.

Mr Bernardo’s brother, Juan Bernardo, travelled from London to the inquest.

He said his brother had previously worked with him for the same company but left to work in a coffee shop three or four weeks before his death.

“He just said he had an opportunity to do another job and that was it,” said Mr Bernardo, who said he lost contact with his brother in the weeks running up to the incident.

Mr Bernardo said he tried to contact his brother to arrange for him to visit his family on Christmas Eve but never got a response.

He said he never suspected his brother was contemplating suicide and confirmed that he was not known to mental health services.

Mr Bernardo said he believed his brother had been left ‘in bad shape’ after the breakdown of his marriage a year ago.

Miss Jones concluded that Mr Bernardo committed suicide and died as a result of multiple injuries, mainly to his skull.

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this story, the Samaritans can offer 24-hour support to those struggling to cope or feeling emotional distress. Call 116 123.

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