Suicides prompt closure of Oxford car park's top storey

Suicides prompt closure of Oxford car park's top storey

The view from the car park

Sgt Paul Sexton at the car park

First published in News by

THE top floor of an Oxford car park is being shut to stop suicidal people leaping to their deaths.

Three people have died in the past 18 months after going to the sixth floor of the 100ft car park at the Templars Square shopping centre, in Cowley.

Barriers are now being installed to stop people walking or driving to the top storey, while there is also a sign advising anyone feeling depressed or suicidal to contact the Samaritans charity.

Sgt Paul Sexton, of Cowley police, said: “Due to the hard work of the managers and staff from Templars Square Shopping Centre, work has now commenced to have barriers put around the top floor, to stop access to pedestrians and vehicles in a bid to prevent further fatalities.

“However, these barriers will be removed at the busier trading times of the year, such as Christmas.”

In April, police had to close Beauchamp Lane, which is next to the car park, after a man fell to his death.

Last August, a 51-year-old man took his own life by jumping from the top of the car park and landing on a car beneath.

An inquest at Oxford Coroner’s Court earlier this year heard he jumped after he learned he only had weeks to live after being diagnosed with colon cancer.

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A man also died after falling from the car park on April 20 last year.

A spokesman for Templars Square shopping centre said: “It’s important that we provide the safest environment we can for our shoppers, tenants and staff.

“As such, we have undertaken a full independent risk assessment of the site and are now in the process of implementing the recommendations.

“Therefore, during those periods outside of the busy seasonal shopping times, vehicular and pedestrian access to the upper levels of the car park will be restricted to deter unlawful activity.”

The car park was opened in 1964 and run by Oxford City Council for the next 33 years.

It is still owned by the council but is currently leased to Zurich Insurance, which also runs the shopping centre.

  • Are you feeling suicidal? You can call the Samaritans 24 hours a day on 08457 909090. The advice service deals with people by phone, email, letter and face-to-face in most of its branches.

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