Police stand-off with man threatening to jump from Palgrave House goes on into the night
PUBLISHED: 19:11 14 March 2013 | UPDATED: 19:47 14 March 2013
A tense stand-off between police and a man threatening to jump from a block of flats in Hampstead looks set to go on into the night.
Officers have now spent five hours attempting to persuade the man, believed to be in his 20s or 30s, to come down from the fourth floor of Palgrave House flats, in Lawn Road, where he is clinging perilously to a drainpipe.
Witnesses on the ground heard the man screaming “they are going to kill me” at police and threatening to jump.
Paramedics and firefighters are also on the scene as the man’s brother and other family members, as well as a police negotiator, attempt to calm the situation.
Crowds of shocked onlookers gathered around the high-rise block on the corner of Lawn Road and Fleet Road to watch the drama unfold just after 2pm today.
Marian Flynn, 46, who works at the Marks & Spencer Simply Food store in Pond Street, Hampstead, said: “I was literally coming out of work when I heard a lot of shouting.
“I looked up and saw a man hanging from the block. It was horrible.”
Another woman with her two children, who did not wish to be named, said: “I hope they talk him down. I think there’s going to be more and more of this kind of thing going on with the way the government is squeezing people.”
Police were called by residents in Palgrave House who were concerned about a neighbour just before 10am this morning.
At about 2.10pm, the man, wearing a white hoodie, jeans and trainers, emerged from a fifth floor flat window and clung to a drainpipe running vertically up the block.
When he first climbed out of the window, witnesses described scenes of pandemonium as more than 10 police officers ran about on the ground beneath as the man repeatedly screamed for “help”.
In a hair-raising moment he then shuffled down the drainpipe to the fourth floor where he remained.
The man’s brother then arrived on the scene looking shocked and joined a police negotiator on the grass beneath the flats in a desperate attempt to speak to calm the situation.
Police have since set up a large cordon around Palgrave House, closing Fleet Road and Upper Park Road, causing severe traffic problems.
A polling station at Fleet Primary School has remained open for voters in the Gospel Oak by-election, which is being held today.
But access is via the school’s rear entrance in Agincourt Road as the main entrance in Fleet Road has been closed.
A number of bus routes have also been affected by the road closure.
The 46 and C11 bus routes are on diversion and the 24 bus route is terminating at Morrisons supermarket in Chalk Farm Road, Chalk Farm.