A Radio DJ has been condemned by mental health charities after he played the song “Jump” as police were trying to talk down a suicidal woman from a motorway bridge.
Steve Penk received a request from a listener for the hit Van Halen track after four lanes of the M60 were closed while police attempted to deal resolve the situation.
The controversial presenter told listeners on his breakfast show he was playing the song to ’empathize’ with frustrated drivers, but moments later the woman jumped from the 30ft bridge.
The 30-year-old woman suffered minor injuries, but mental heath charities branded his behaviour on 96.2FM The Revolution ‘in very poor taste’.
Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: ‘Given the distressing circumstances, the decision to play “Jump” was highly insensitive and in very poor taste. Media have a responsibility for their audience and jovialising such a situation could be fatal. People that experience mental distress should be encouraged to speak out and seek help. Yet the huge stigma that surrounds mental health means that many feel they have to cope on their own, with potentially tragic consequences.’
A spokesman for The Samaritans added: ‘It shows a lack of compassion and understanding.’
Some listeners also voiced their anger at Mr Penk.
Lorna Guinn, 42, said: “It’s irresponsible – this woman could have overheard it on someone’s car stereo. I found it pathetic and nasty.”
Mr Penk, who owns the radio station in the north west, has become renowned for making prank calls live on air.
He told The Sun: “The entire area had been thrown into total chaos by a single troubled woman. I was very sorry to hear that the lady had subsequently jumped from the bridge, but relieved that her injuries were minor.
‘If, as has been suggested, the woman jumped because she heard it from a passing car radio that’s unfortunate. But I don’t regret playing it for a minute.”