RELATIVES of a woman who fell from a viaduct after police removed handcuffs have welcomed plans to use the tragedy to improve the way officers deal with people threatening suicide.

Janice Clark’s family have settled their legal action against Durham Police out of court for a five-figure sum to include minimal damages and cover their costs.

Ms Clark, a former Army captain, who was 50, died after falling from Hownsgill Viaduct, near Consett, in August 2017.

Members of the public clung to her arm until police arrived and officers had locked her to the barrier using handcuffs.

Minutes later though she managed to persuade the officers that she no longer intended to jump, so they removed the restraints.

As she was climbing back over the suicide prevention barrier she fell and was fatally injured.

She died 16 hours later after she had been airlifted to hospital.

Her brother, Steven Clark, said the lessons learned from the incident will be used to educate police officers and could be rolled out to other forces.

Mr Clark said: “There is now training within the police to help and provide information on dealing with these situations.

“Janice’s name and photograph will be in this and, hopefully, this will help any other officers faced with a suicide situation.

“We, as a family, would like to thank all those family and friends that supported us along the way and continue to do so.

“We did this out of justice and honesty. If anyone even thinks we did this for money then they need to look again at what has come of this.”

Miss Clark had a long history of mental illness, but whether she intended to jump, or she fell, is unclear.

In December 2018, coroner at an inquest into her death recorded an open verdict.

The jury found it was "inappropriate" for the police to remove the handcuffs from Ms Clark at the time.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct’s investigation into the circumstance concluded no action should be taken against the officers.

Mr Clark said: “We do not blame the police officers on the bridge or anyone who was supporting them.

“This was a tragic set of events that ended with the death of our Janice.

“We must also thank the Great North Air Ambulance, the fire brigade, the RVI hospital and also the legal team for everything they have done.

“We would also like to thank the local community especially those who helped keep Janice on the bridge for 35 minutes until the police arrived and also the off-duty paramedic who actually brought Janice back to life at the base of the viaduct.”

A collection at Ms Clark’s funeral raised £6,000 for the Great North Air Ambulance and 24-hour bike from Durham to London by her family has raised £5,000 for the suicide prevention charity If You Care Share.

A statement issued by Durham Constabulary said the force had accepted that failings were identified by the jury at the inquest.

The force has expressed its deepest sympathies to the family for their loss.

Ms Clark’s family had launched legal proceedings citing negligence under the Human Rights Act.

The force has confirmed those proceedings have now concluded by agreement and that additional training and procedures to address the issues raised are being put in place.

Chief Superintendent Chris Curtis, of Durham Constabulary, said: “We would again like to offer our condolences to the family following the tragic death of Janice Clark.

“We carried out training with our first responders in advance of the inquest and this programme will continue in the forthcoming months.

“We will ensure all our new officers also receive this training and we will work with our follow blue light services to ensure we are fully prepared when dealing with difficult situations such as this in the future.”