Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Clarkson hits out at rail suicides

Jeremy Clarkson has described people who throw themselves under trains as selfish

Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has become embroiled in further controversy after describing people who throw themselves under trains as "selfish".

The 51-year-old, who was forced to apologise earlier this week after saying all striking workers should be shot, reiterated his view that those who commit suicide at railway stations cause "immense" disruption for commuters.

In his column in The Sun newspaper, Clarkson said: "I have the deepest sympathy for anyone whose life is so mangled and messed up that they believe death's icy embrace will be better."

He said around 200 people a year "decide that the best way to go is by hurling themselves in front of a speeding train" and adds: "However, it is a very selfish way to go because the disruption it causes is immense. And think what it's like for the poor train driver who sees you lying on the line and can do absolutely nothing to avoid a collision."

Later in the article the presenter refers to those who choose to jump in front of trains as "Johnny Suicide" and argues that following a death, trains should carry on their journeys as soon as possible.

He adds: "The train cannot be removed nor the line re-opened until all of the victim's body has been recovered. And sometimes the head can be half a mile away from the feet.

"Change the driver, pick up the big bits of what's left of the victim, get the train moving as quickly as possible and let foxy woxy and the birds nibble away at the smaller, gooey parts that are far away or hard to find."

The comments have sparked criticism among suicide and mental health charities. Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, described the comments as "extraordinarily tasteless", especially in the wake of the death of footballer Gary Speed.

He said: "I think it's extraordinarily tasteless in its tone. I think there will be many people who have lost loved ones to suicide and people who have contemplated suicide that will think it is in extremely bad taste.

"It stands out like a sore thumb from what is increasingly a more supportive approach to suicide by the media. People will feel like he is trivialising the subject and dismissing people who have taken their own lives. This is a man who really doesn't understand what he is talking about."

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