Teen prosecuted over suicide bids

A VULNERABLE teenage girl has been prosecuted three times in a week for threatening to kill herself.

The 18-year-old, who the Courier has chosen not to name, admitted causing a public nuisance and wasting police time at each court appearance.

In the latest suicide threat, she called 999 from the eighth floor of a derelict mill in Boothtown, Halifax, and threatened to jump.

Just three days earlier, on July 8, she had been given a conditional discharge for threatening to jump from North Bridge, Halifax.

A supervision order had been made on July 5 for similar offences.

Prosecuting the latest incident, Richard Sagar told Calderdale Magistrates’ Court police found the teenager sitting on a window ledge with her legs dangling over the edge. There was a 40-metre drop to the ground.

Officers talked her down safely after 25 minutes.

Mr Sagar said: “Not only were they concerned about her, there were 10 officers involved in various capacities – that’s a large drain on resources.”

Paul Manning, mitigating, said: “This young lady is a bit of a revolving door case as far as this court is concerned.

“It’s extremely worrying that we have a young lady who’s been before the court on three occasions in a very short period of time. She’s not a person who really should be in this position.”

A crisis team has assessed her as mentally well, despite her suicide threats and self-harming, which means there is only limited help available to her.

“We are left in a very unsatisfactory position that we have open to us only the sort of punishments that the court can mete out,” said Mr Manning. “We have somebody before the court who shouldn’t be here and it’s difficult to see how we can deal with her most effectively.”

The young woman, of Boothtown, told magistrates: “I’m trying. Even though I’m not showing that I am, I am trying to get as much help as I can.”

A spokesman for the Samaritans has criticised the decision to prosecute her.

He said: “While it is impossible to know the full facts of this case, Samaritans believes it would be unhelpful to prosecute anybody for making a suicide attempt.

“Suicidal threats should never be taken lightly and we would urge the police to consult with mental health services to give support to people who make them, rather than seek a criminal prosecution, which could exacerbate the problem and is unlikely to deter them from further attempts.”

A West Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “We have to make a decision based on all the available evidence.”

• For confidential support call Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, email jo@samaritans.org or visit the charity’s Halifax branch in Hopwood Lane (01422 349349)