What started out as a normal Saturday for two of Crawley Borough Council’s Community Wardens, ended with them preventing two young people from taking their own lives.
On 18 August, Christopher Oakley and Stuart Adesilu were called to assist Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) with removing a couple from the roof of Orchard Street Car Park who were refusing to cooperate.
CEOs respond to issues when on patrol around the town’s car parks and will call for the Community Wardens’ back-up when required.
Chris said: “On this occasion, the couple were sat on the roof drinking and refusing to leave. So we attended with the intention of seizing their alcohol and asking them to move on, which is fairly standard procedure.”
The couple were adamant they weren’t leaving so the Wardens considered the involvement of the police. However, as they weren’t being anti-social, they anticipated their presence would be unlikely.
After a short conversation, the situation soon escalated when the male mentioned that four years to the day, his brother had taken his own life, turning an ordinary call-out for the Wardens into a situation with a potentially life-changing ending.
Chris continued: “We could see he was suffering and started to cry saying he wanted to join his brother.”
The Wardens tried reasoning with him, urging him to use one of the many helplines available to talk to someone about what he was going through. At that point his girlfriend walked away to the other end of the roof and Stuart followed to make sure she was OK. After five minutes of talking, the young man then attempted to jump off the roof of the car park.
Thankfully Chris leapt into action, grabbing the young man’s ankle, using his weight to pull him back down, calling for Stuart’s assistance. Witnessing the scene, however, caused the female to also attempt to take her own life. Stuart quickly prevented this from happening, moving her to safety.
Police were called at this point and promptly detained the couple.
Leader of Crawley Borough Council, Councillor Peter Lamb said: “This story could have had a very different ending if it had not been for the quick actions of Chris and Stuart. They showed great compassion and care in a very difficult situation and I am proud to have them as part of the team here at Crawley Borough Council.”
Both Chris and Stuart’s actions have been recognised by the council for their exceptional handling of a very sensitive situation.
If you are struggling and need to talk to someone, call the Samaritans on 116 123.