Minibus with corpse inside issued with parking ticket on Belfast street
A Northern Ireland traffic warden issued a parking ticket to a minibus without realising the man inside the vehicle had died, it has emerged, writes Claire McNeilly
The unfortunate incident occurred at a taxi rank outside a well-known hotel in Belfast city centre around 8.30am last Tuesday.
Police last night confirmed they had attended the scene of a death outside the front steps of a hotel in Great Victoria Street.
A PSNI spokeswoman added: "The death is not believed to be suspicious".
Eyewitnesses reported that someone was slumped in a front seat close to the driver's seat in the tourist minibus, which was parked outside Jury's Hotel. They said the person was motionless and appeared to have slid down in the seat when a traffic warden arrived and issued a ticket.
Bystanders who saw what happened have said they were upset by the incident.
UK-wide franchise NSL, which is the company responsible for traffic wardens in Belfast, has since issued a formal statement saying their "thoughts and sympathies are with the family of the person" who passed away.
One person witnessed what happened from inside Jury's Inn Hotel at the corner of Murray Street and Great Victoria Street.
"The body was in a minibus parked just feet from the door of Jury's," the eyewitness told a Sunday newspaper.
"The person who died was sitting quite close to the driver's seat at the front.
"Eventually, a blanket was brought and put over the body. But before that, a traffic warden approached the minibus.
"He rapped the window of the minibus, and when the dead person didn't move, he put a parking ticket on the minibus."
The source added: "People on the street and police at the scene were upset."
An NSL spokeswoman confirmed that a minivan was issued with a PCN (penalty charge notice) on Tuesday morning "because it was parked in a taxi rank".
"As soon as the traffic attendant became aware of the circumstances, the Department (for Regional Development) was informed and immediately cancelled the PCN," she said.
"Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family of the person."
NSL, the firm that runs parking "enforcement solutions" across the UK, has hit the headlines in the past for the wrong reasons.
In late 2012 a traffic warden doled out a ticket to a blood transfusion van parked where members of the public were giving vital blood donations.
It was issued after the van had overrun a one-hour parking restriction, but the ticket was later rescinded.