Car park tragedy averted by police

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POLICE negotiators spent more than three hours talking down a man from the top storey of a car park in Horsham town centre.

Officers managed to coax the 27-year-old away from the edge of The Forum car park in Blackhorse Way on Friday.

A spokeswoman for Sussex Police told the County Times: “Police were called to a car park in Horsham in the early hours of Friday July 29 following concern for the health of a man.

“Officers attended The Forum car park shortly after 4am where a 27-year-old man was discovered to be close to the edge of the top storey.

“Police negotiators attended the scene and were able to talk him away from the edge. Eventually he was taken into police custody for his own safety shortly before 7.30am.”

The incident comes on the back of three deaths at Horsham’s Swan Walk multi-storey car park in just 18 months.

Pensioner Robin Wheeldon died on Sunday March 13 after falling from the car park, it emerged at an inquest on Friday July 15.

The incident was not made public at the time, even to Horsham District Council, which owns the multi-storey car park.

An inquest hearing at Horsham magistrates court heard that Mr Wheeldon leapt to his death from the car park at Swan Walk shopping centre two days before his 71st birthday.

Mr Wheeldon, of Trenear Close, Horsham, a retired Crown agent, suffered from depression throughout his life and had taken it very badly when a friend of his died from a brain tumour, the inquest heard.

The hearing recorded a verdict that Mr Wheeldon had taken his own life.

The two other deaths occurred at the end of June and 18 months’ ago.

Linda Ruth Matthews, 58, of Trefoil Close, Horsham, died when she fell from an upper level of the Swan Walk car park in a suspected suicide at 5.37pm on Wednesday June 29. The official cause of death has yet to be established by a coroner’s court.

And in April 2010 John Swinden, 71, jumped to his death from the car park after strangling his MS sufferer wife Jill, 70, at their Horsham home.