Outrage over fake Autoglass advert 'artwork' accused of mocking suicide in London

The banner was displayed on Archway Bridge. Picture: Ammanuel Afowerki

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The Independent Online

A fake Autoglass advert on a London bridge appearing to mock suicide has been revealed to be an art project after enraging campaigners and bereaved families.

The banner was displayed on the Hornsey Lane Bridge in north London, which passes over a busy dual carriageway and is locally nicknamed “suicide bridge” because of the many deaths there.

It appeared last week, displaying the slogan “Autoglass: For whatever life throws at you” to drivers passing underneath.

A spokesperson for the company quickly denied any involvement with the “distasteful” sign, which has since been removed.

“We are collaborating with the local authorities regarding this matter,” he said.

“We want to express our sympathies to anyone who has been personally affected by this.”

The “artist” behind it, who is studying at Central St Martin’s, allegedly sent pictures of his handiwork to local paper the Islington Gazette posing as a passer-by.

But a fellow student exposed the ruse on Wednesday, telling the paper they had been told to create a project “maximising a bridge’s potential”.

A spokesperson for the renowned art college said it did not endorse the work and apologised to everyone offended.

“It has been taken down by the student concerned, who now understands that his actions were inappropriate,” he added.

“He had no intention of causing pain or upset.”

The “No More ‘Suicide Bridge’” group continues to campaign for improved safety measures on the bridge, where three people died in three weeks in 2010.

Sue Hessel, one of the campaigners, told the Islington Gazette the banner was "not art".

“It’s so insensitive to people who have mental health issues and their families," she added.

“A lot of people have died at this bridge – who knows what anger this could have provoked?"

Anyone wanting confidential support can call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90.