Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Man Falls to his Death from Glasgow Hotel


Photo: Glasgow Live. An item of clothing on the ledge below the window where the man is believed to have exited.

The full story is here:

http://www.glasgowlive.co.uk/news/glasgow-news/eye-witness-reports-man-falls-12162582

and here:

http://www.glasgowlive.co.uk/news/glasgow-news/police-officers-who-tried-save-12169196

Yet another unexplained tragedy. Yet another fall from an hotel.

This dramatic and fatal incident took place at a little before 11.30 am on 11th November, 2016. The above reports state that the man in question was endeavouring to take his own life by throwing himself out of the third floor window, of the Glasgow's Grand Central Hotel, restrained only by the valiant efforts of a policeman holding on to one leg, from which after struggling, he fell to his death.

Apparently two police officers had visited his room "around 11.30 on Friday" to interview him about a matter, whereupon he rushed to the window so quickly they could not prevent him from falling out.

 As always timing in these matters is significant. I mention this as the report states that emergency services rushed to the scene about that time (11.30) so no allowance appears to have been made for all the activity that must have preceded it.

It obviously takes time to call an ambulance, even if it were by the police at the scene. Clearly the events leading up to the fall would have taken time also: Accessing the hotel; announcing their presence and purpose to management; reaching the third floor; gaining access to the room itself (can we assume this might not have been immediate or easy?); the initial conversation and then the dash to the window all before the ambulance could be summoned.  

This must suggest an arrival time much closer to 11 am than 11.30 am. How long they were in the room before he attempted his 'escape' and what happened in that time are critical factors in understanding it.

Note at 11 am, a two minute silence was being observed throughout the UK in memory of those that have died in war. Had these policemen observed it or was their mission too important to delay? Is it not just a little strange that two policeman of all people should not observe the convention, and instead choose to pursue their enquiries at just that time? No explanation is given for this small but puzzling feature of the incident.

There is a good deal of information provided from police and witness sources in the above articles, however as is frequently the case, critical information is not included. This can be for very good reasons but nevertheless it should not escape notice.

For example the names and details of the policeman and victim are not revealed other than in the second report two days later. The latter was described as a 47-year-old man believed to have been reported missing and that the officers were in the process of trying (successfully as it appears) to trace him. We are not told whether the policemen were in uniform or plain clothed detectives or what the man could have feared so greatly to provoke so desperate a move or whether there was any suggestion of criminal or mental instability involved, although some might be inferred.  His nationality is not revealed.

If reliable, the police report would certainly suggest the officers were brave to the point of heroism, though ultimately unsuccessful, because clearly the man could have pulled the policeman behind him. A witness Nathanael Williams is quoted in the above article as saying: 

"I looked up and from about the third-floor a man was dangling from the window. He was being held by another man who was holding one foot. The man (hanging from the window) was pretty much naked, he had a t-shirt on, which was up around his neck and shoulders while his trousers and underwear were at his ankles. He also had a pair of shoes on."

"The guy who was dangling from the window was thrashing about, it looked like he was trying to get loose. You could tell the person in the window was trying to hold on to the guy's foot for dear life. It seemed to go on for an age, with this person thrashing about until there was a cry from the crowd because the man falls and hits every floor on the way down. 

Journalist  David Jamieson is quoted as saying: "Someone told me that the person holding on to the man was a policeman, but I couldn't tell, my complete attention was on the guy dangling from the window. All I could tell was that the man was holding on to his foot for dear life. I think the guy was hanging from the window for about three or four minutes."

What perhaps is unusual is that the emergency services are often quick to identify members of their organisation who act heroically, even if it is expected of them as part of their job description. Clearly it hasn't happened in this case and we might wonder why. We are however informed that the two (we assume male?) officers have been offered professional counselling to deal with the trauma they found themselves involved in.

There are aspects of this case that will require further elucidation as time passes particularly in relation to the deceased, why he had 'gone missing', why he was where he was and what could have driven him, presumably triggered by the presence of the officers, to take a course of action that could only result in serious injury or death?

There are obviously details of the conversation and interaction that will have a bearing on what happened that are known only to the participants. Will this be revealed by Police Scotland? It is reported that he tried to jump through a window on the third floor. One of the officers grabbed him by the ankles in a bid to stop him. The officer cut his hands in his desperate attempts to save the man, who wriggled free and plunged to his death.

Questions also arise how with two policemen present, the man was able to get to the window, open it (such hotel windows are usually fitted with safety devices to prevent a wide opening and there appears to be no suggestion of broken glass) and find himself hanging by just one foot. Was the witnessed struggling in an effort to fall or not to fall? 

Now for a very strange element to the story that raises an important question that I cannot answer but needs to be. The first article states: "When they entered the man’s bedroom, he was naked and initially indicated he wanted to get dressed. However, he then dashed for the bedroom window." Now compare and contrast this account with that of the witness above that when he hung from the bedroom window he actually had t-shirt, pants and trousers on although the latter were around his ankles. He also specifically mentions him having shoes on his feet. 

The location of trousers and pants can be easily explained if they were grabbed to prevent him falling, It even appears that the latter came off altogether and came to rest on the window cill below (see photo above)!  What cannot be so easily reconciled are the two conflicting reports, that when the police entered he was naked and immediately on a ruse of dressing, rushed to the window, with the evidence that when hanging from the window held by only one foot, he was in fact dressed in t-shirt, underpants, trousers and shoes!

In such a serious case involving law enforcement, this - with the other issues - needs to be revealed and explained.

The BBC now reports (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-37949296) as follows: 

"An investigation is to be carried out into how police handled an incident where a 47-year-old man fell to his death near Glasgow Central Station.
"The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) will examine the circumstances surrounding the fatality on Gordon Street on Friday morning. A spokeswoman for the PIRC said: "The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has instructed the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner to carry out an investigation into police contact with a man who died following an incident in Gordon Street, Glasgow, on Friday 11 November 2016.
"A report on the Commissioner's findings will be submitted to the COPFS in due course."





2 comments:

  1. http://stv.tv/news/west-central/1372864-video-footage-of-man-s-fatal-fall-from-glasgow-hotel-sought/

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  2. As yet unidentified man who fell from window was a Mental Health patient, regarded as 'paranoid' but no harm to himself. Given the circumstances, it is perhaps rather surprising that it appears no mental health professional was involved in locating or meeting him?

    See: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/naked-man-who-fell-death-9268785

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