Campaigner blames delays to Archway Bridge anti-suicide measures for paedophile’s fatal fall

Archway Bridge

Archway Bridge - Credit: Polly Hancock

A campaigner has criticised delays to anti-suicide measures at Archway Bridge after a paedophile fell to his death on the day he faced jail.

The anti-suicide measures due to be installed at Archway Bridge

The anti-suicide measures due to be installed at Archway Bridge - Credit: Archant

Michael Fiek, 40, died when he fell from the historic Highgate bridge onto the southbound carriageway in Archway Road at 6.45am.

The accountant, of Hackney, was due to be sentenced for having sex with a 15-year-old boy as a member of a paedophile ring at Leeds Crown Court on Thursday. But the court heard that he died in a plunge from Hornsey Lane Bridge that same day.

He had already admitted meeting a 15-year-old boy in a park in west Yorkshire and paying him for sex while filming the act.

Sarah Cope, who launched the Hornsey Lane Bridge Anti-Suicide Campaign in 2010, said that despite his crimes, Fiek’s death was “unnecessary” because anti-suicide measures approved last year should have been put in place by now.

The anti-suicide measures due to be installed at Archway Bridge

The anti-suicide measures due to be installed at Archway Bridge - Credit: Archant

The 37-year-old, of Summersby Road, Highgate, said: “Whatever people may say about the individual, ultimately it’s the same story.

“People are jumping to their deaths, with onlookers completely traumatised and family and friends traumatised too. It’s just completely unnecessary.”

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Plans to erect a 3.1m-high steel fence on the inside of the bridge were approved by Haringey and Islington councils in October last year.

But there have been delays to the works, after it was requested that a mock section of the fence is tested before the measures are put in place.

Transport for London (TfL) now expect the fence to be erected in the summer, with the mock section due to be tested in February.

Ms Cope added: “This is the price we pay, someone dying.

“We thought we had had the last death after decades and decades of it happening.”

It is hoped the fence will drastically cut the number of suicide attempts at the bridge.

A spokesman for TFL said: “A TfL spokesperson said: “Our safety improvements for Hornsey Lane Bridge in Archway will be installed this summer, following the approval from Islington and Haringey councils.

“We hope these safety improvements will help prevent suicide attempts at this location, while respecting the heritage features of the bridge.”

A Haringey Council spokesman said: “TfL are leading on the design and installation of measures to try to prevent incidents of this nature, including ongoing liaison with English Heritage and local stakeholder groups to ensure agreement on their proposed approach.

“We are working in close partnership with TfL and others to ensure that proposals can be finalised and installed as soon as possible.”

Archway Road was closed on Thursday morning after the death, leading to traffic queues stretching back as far as Highgate Underground Station.

Fiek’s co-accused, James Bould, 34, from Dewsbury, and Andrew Lynes, 51, from Huddersfield, were respectively sentenced to 14 years and seven-and-a-half years in jail at Leeds Crown Court.

For confidential emotional support in a crisis, contact the Samaritans around the clock on 08457 90 90 90.