Suicide victims' bodies stored in cupboards on London underground
Published 02/02/2012 | 13:08
THE bodies of people who commit suicide on the London Underground are often stored in cleaning cupboards until an undertaker can collect them, a new documentary has revealed.
Around 50 people a year kill themselves on the London Underground, equating to approximately one every week.
As well as the tragedy for the individual and their families, suicides on the Tube can create hours of chaos and disruption for millions of other passengers.
So to try to get the transport network up and running as soon as possible bodies are often moved to a secure room within the station until they can be taken away by an undertaker.
The shocking revelation was made by London Underground staff on a new documentary about the Tube.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, several workers expressed their disgust at the practice.
One male member of the Tube’s Emergency Response Unit said leaving bodies in cupboards was very disrespectful.
He told Channel 4’s Confessions from the Underground: “As far as I understand it, London Ambulance services have limited resources and a few years back they stopped taking anybody who’s deceased into their ambulances back to hospitals.
“Sometimes there’s a delay, it might be half an hour, maybe even two hours and then we’re left with a body on the platform and disturbingly for us we have to find a place to put a body. “Unfortunately, we had to use, at Stratford, a bin store outside in the car park, you know the big, massive, industrial bins. Putting someone’s body in there, not in the bin, in with the bins, it’s not really respectful.
“However, do I keep the station shut until the coroner and his guys gets there and inconvenience the rest of London?”
Another female worker said many staff found it deeply distressing to know that bodies had been hidden from the public in cupboards.
She explained: “I know that we’ve got a store cupboard that we put the bodies in and there is one station supervisor who will not go in that cupboard at all.”
Another worker added: “We’ve even heard of situations where cleaners come down to get a mop or a bucket or whatever and there’s some poor unfortunate person’s body in there.”
A spokesman for London Underground explained workers were offered support and counselling should they need it.
The spokesman said: “Following agreed procedures, a body may be moved to a secure room within the station to await collection by undertakers. We believe our staff do a fantastic job in responding to such difficult circumstances and they are offered counselling support, if necessary.”
Confessions from the Underground will be broadcast on Channel 4 on February 2 at 10pm.