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DJ plays ‘Jump’ as woman mulls suicide

A British radio DJ is being criticized for playing Van Halen's "Jump" as police tried to talk a suicidal woman down from a highway bridge last week.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A British radio DJ is being criticized for playing Van Halen's "Jump" as police tried to talk a suicidal woman down from a highway bridge last week.

A British mental health charity said it was horrified by the incident Thursday morning, and would bring it up with Britain's media regulator.

Disc jockey Steve Penk, who owns Revolution Radio and hosts its morning show, said he played the song at the request of a commuter sitting in traffic on a highway shut down while police negotiators tried to talk the woman off the bridge. He said several commuters had called to express frustration at the delays. Penk said he made no reference to the woman in playing the song.

"This audience was just climbing the wall," he told The Associated Press. "They were frustrated" in traffic on the highway that rings the northwest English city of Manchester.

Penk refused to apologize for the decision, saying he was standing by his audience. He said he was stunned by the media coverage. The Sun newspaper quoted a listener saying that playing the song was "pathetic and nasty."

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Paul Farmer, who leads the Mind lobbying organization on mental health issues, said the DJ showed "a complete lack of compassion and sensitivity."

The 30-year-old woman eventually jumped, sustaining only minor injuries in shattering her heel bones, Manchester police said. She would not have heard the song on the bridge, and so it could not have affected her actions, police said.

A call placed with Ofcom, the media regulator, was not immediately returned.