Barnet tragedy unravels. String of suicide attempts in council offices, failed security, alarms not working

barnet house emerg.png
Emergency vehicles at Barnet House last Wednesday

Last Wednesday in the North London borough of Barnet, a woman apparently driven to desperation by her situation set herself alight in the housing office of Tory-run Barnet council. She was last reported in critical but stable condition in hospital and an update on her condition is awaited from the Metropolitan Police.

Other people in the building were hurriedly evacuated and video of gathered emergency vehicles subsequently emerged.

The mainstream media ignored the incident.

But the SKWAWKBOX has uncovered further details that show the tragedy could have been far worse – and which reveal, according to local sources, a ‘shambolic’ management situation at the council with outsourced health and safety arrangements that failed.

This blog has learned that when the incident took place, the fire alarms on the affected floor of the council office failed to work, exacerbating the situation – eyewitnesses had already reported that they only knew about the fire when someone came into the interview room they were using and told them they needed to leave immediately. To get out of the building, they had to pass the poor victim in flames.

The SKWAWKBOX has also discovered that the victim had brought in a liquid accelerant concealed in a soft drink bottle which she poured over herself – and that this was not spotted during security checks already in place because of earlier attempted suicides in the building.

The council had not, as of last night, confirmed that other fire alarms in the building had been checked and were working.

Capita, the outsourced safety provider, was asked for comment but deferred to Barnet council’s press office response.

Barnet council, which refused to comment last week, eventually responded with this:

We can confirm that an incident took place at Barnet House on Wednesday, 15 August. The Metropolitan Police Service is currently investigating this matter and it would be therefore inappropriate to comment any further.

None of those the SKWAWKBOX has spoken to – Met Police, Barnet Council or Capita – have disputed that the incident was a self-immolation.


Barnet council has implemented outsourced security measures because other desperate people have attempted suicide in its offices before. Those measures failed last Wednesday.

The mainstream media are not reporting this horrific depiction of the desperation inflicted on the vulnerable in our society – even though it is only the latest in a string of attempted suicides.

Cuts. Callousness. Desperation so bad multiple people have tried to kill themselves at the office of a council. Media complicity.

Tory Britain in 2018.

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  1. sadly crapita. and the outsourced security measures is this g4s I wonder aktion t4 rolling along without much of a ado

  2. I’m not surprised the alarms didn’t work, or the security was lax.

    The politicians (ALL denominations) have raked in taxes off the poorest, and forced them to have the cheapest of everything.

    This is while they give themselves massive tax breaks, and grant themselves the best of everything with the ‘savings’ made from YOUR taxes (They avoid paying theirs) for the substandard shite YOU’RE forced to accept for your hard-earned…

    No substandard NHS for them. They get private healthcare.

    No lax security – it’s detailed when at work and personalised in their gated communities.

    And their smoke alarms alarms all work – but what do you expect when YOU paid for them?

    I’ll bet the nearest fire station(s) to the MP’s constituency homes aren’t the ones being shut, neither…

    F**king parasites have privatised the profit and nationialised the risk for far too long. It’s about time it was taken off them so THEY become destitute and suicidal.

    Grenfell opened a few people’s eyes to what it’s about. No f**king wonder the MSM (On behalf of the toerags) have kept this on the QT.

    Get wise, people. Well played @Skwawkbox for pursuing this.

  3. The SKWAWKBOX has also discovered that the victim had brought in a liquid accelerant concealed in a soft drink bottle which she poured over herself – and that this was not spotted during security checks already in place because of earlier attempted suicides in the building.

    Sadlt, it appears evident Barnet LP would rather dictate the definition of antisemitism than do anything about bringing this to the attention of the nation.

    …And the sad part is, they’ll probably still convince themselves that alleged antisemitism is why they didn’t take control of the council from the toerags – not issues like several people attempting suicide in council offices ffs…

      1. On reflection I did miss it. Barnet LP are JC haters, right wing and an inexcusable group who only care about their jobs and pay!
        As representatives of Labour they are a waste of our money and time!
        Is that your opinion Toffee?
        Their time in office is numbered!

  4. It literally breaks my heart to hear of one woman’s self harm, driven to desperation. Then the news that (unsurprisingly?) there have been “other” suicide attempts in the offices adds further heaviness. It’s no wonder *they* collude to hush it up. But can we all promise there will be consequences once we regain our power and dignity by electing a Labour govt? Simply being able to point to a outsourced contract, or a “low” council tax, or a lack of systems, or the fact no one individual was actually responsible for H&S, none of this should allow those responsible to get away. I would start with the trial of the ministers and mandarins of the DWP, through the elected members of the borough councils and every manager in Crapita. That would be just a start. They have to pay. Austerity is no longer plausible, or a victimless crime by Osborne and Cameron and IDSmith (and the shower on the Labour benches who supported this, too).

  5. Yes an old Leftie Labour MP from many years ago, Joan Maynard, used to say “The Tories don’t preach class politics, they are too busy practising them!”
    With Barbarism from the Right Wing Tory Neo-Liberals you get outsourcing, privatisation, sub-contacting etc. etc. (in a pursuit of cheaper Labour) and a smaller state plus you end up with Grenfell and some working class people driven to the edge as per this case and many others!
    Of course the Tories with their NeoLiberal ideas are hypocrites; they claim to be against state intervention but use massive state intervention (for the upper class welfare state) to give tax cuts to millionaires, big business corporations, hedge funds, private landlords with multiple properties, grouse moor owners etc. etc. etc.
    I am proud that my trade union is fighting for claimants and we are trying to counter the dominant narrative on welfare ‘working class welfare bad, upper class welfare invisible” as they set neighbour against neighbour to distract from all of the above tax cuts and subsidies for rich and powerful and as the excellent Guardian journalist Chakrobaty pointed out there are over 2,000 tax reliefs for the rich and better off and corporate welfare is £79b a year!
    We are trying to politicise the Left behind and have been on the streets in a town centre (plus leafeted estates with our counter narrative) and Labour should get back to trying to politicise the public, Labour is a political party and can be about political education, an area deliberately neglected by the Right Wing Labour ‘Great Men and Women of History” who some argue neglected, took for granted, and some occasionally vilified poor communities and individuals.
    We should make the rich pay their share in the name of economic justice (they legally nick the surplus labour of working people) and it is diverse working people here and in every country of the World who really create the wealth and make societies work.
    So decent pay for all and decent welfare for all!
    So the Left behind join Labour – it should be £1 or 50p for the unwaged – and hopefully with a JC Labour Govt – the cavalry is coming!

  6. But only in Barnet eh Skwawk? Draw back see the whole country burning with poverty. Yeah we know Barnet is a hell hole of anti Corbynism, but blaming the bastards for a lady self immolating? Do you think they were sitting back, having a chuckle?

    1. Speaking for myself – wtf? Austerity cuts are the reason this is happening – direct line of causation to the Tory government.
      Could it happen in a Labour run Council? Of course – but it’ll still be directly attributable to Tory cuts.
      Are you being deliberately obtuse or are you just a particularly parochial Barnet resident?

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