Suicidal man faces £24,000 bill for rail firm's lost profits
Docklands Light Railway seeks compensation for loss of revenue while police rescued man from bridge
Sunday 06 September 2009
A suicidal man rescued from a railway bridge by police negotiators is facing a compensation bill for thousands of pounds to reimburse the train company for lost profits.
Michael Finnegan, 26, from London, is due in court this week for trespass, causing a public nuisance and obstructing a train after he threatened to jump off the bridge in London in July.
Mr Finnegan, who spent nearly two weeks in a psychiatric hospital after he was talked down by police negotiators, could be forced to pay Docklands Light Railway £24,000 to compensate for lost revenue while the line was shut for four hours.
Lawyers, police officers and mental health campaigners have condemned the decision by British Transport Police and the Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute Mr Finnegan as "heartless, extraordinary and bizarre".
Around 100 people commit or attempt suicide on the railways every year but survivors are usually treated sympathetically rather than as criminals. According to Mr Finnegan's lawyer, Greg Powell from Powell Spencer and Partners, the pending court case has placed him under "huge additional stress" while he tries to recover from a desperate period in his life.
This remarkable case comes when mental health experts are seeking an urgent summit with ministers amid fears that the Government has abandoned its pledge to reduce the suicide rate.
The Samaritans are among those on the front line who condemn plans to ditch the existing National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England just as rates of unemployment, drug and alcohol abuse and depression are rising – all of which are known to increase the risk of suicide.
Joe Ferns, the deputy director of Samaritans, said: "Suicide prevention work is difficult, but without a tangible goal to galvanise people there is a real danger this will lose out when budgets are cut. Principles do not prevent suicides; we need explicit targets with dedicated funding."
More than 4,000 people committed suicide in England last year – a 13.9 per cent drop since 1996. But despite the downward trend, the Government looks likely to miss its own target to reduce suicides by 20 per cent by 2010.
And despite the falling numbers, mental health experts insist that the job is far from done as rates still vary significantly in different regions, ethnic groups and age groups.
The Government's mental health tsar, Professor Louis Appleby, has told The Independent on Sunday he "will fight" over the next few months to make suicide prevention a priority in the new mental health strategy now being developed. There will, however, be no new target.
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 'Do not give them a reason': Baltimore man divides police and rioters in hope of avoiding violence
- 3 X Factor in crisis as numbers of people auditioning plummets
- 4 Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
- 5 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
General Election 2015: Tories suspend candidate who said she would never support 'the Jew' Ed Miliband
Bali Nine executions: Indonesia confirms killings of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran will go ahead
The four utterly contradictory polls that tell the story of this election and why it is pointless trying to predict the outcome
General Election 2015: Prospect of Labour-SNP coalition makes one in four voters less likely to support Ed Miliband, says survey
Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Trainee Case Handler is requi...
£15000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£20000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...