Bentall Centre death: 'Time for talks on how to prevent future incidents' says Kingston Council leader Kevin Davis

Shoppers wait to go back into the centre

Shoppers wait to go back into the centre

First published in News
Last updated
Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

YOUR SAY: Kingston shoppers and the leader of the council have called for better safety measures inside the Bentall Centre after a teenager fell to his death from the balcony last week.

What do you think? Let us know at www.surreycomet.co.uk/yoursay or email letters@surrreycomet.co.uk

Former Coombe Boys’ School pupil Joon Kyu Kim, 15, fell from the top floor just before 5pm on Thursday.

UPDATE: Teenage boy dies after falling inside Bentall Centre

UPDATE: Teenager who died in shopping centre fall was Korean student who 'dreamed of becoming vet'

The Korean student who had just completed GCSE exams landed on the basement floor outside Mothercare, with witnesses describing a “sickening thud”.

Kingston Council leader Kevin Davis tweeted: “Desperate news of boy falling to death in Bentalls Centre. Not the first to die this way. Time for talks on how to prevent future incidents.”

In January  2011 mother-of-two Alexis Sims, 45, from Teddington, who suffered from depression,  killed herself after jumping from the top floor. 

An open letter sent to the management of the Bentall Centre by a witness read: “I wrote to yourselves on the day of this horrendous and terrible tragedy, saying that the poor boy landed only feet away from myself, my wife and two young daughters [aged 10 and eight] to which we never got a response.

“Since we witnessed this tragedy, I have had only four hours sleep as all I keep seeing is his poor motionless body laying there and hearing that sickening thud as his young body smashed into the ground.

“My children [fingers crossed]seem to be dealing with it fine, but only time will tell. I'm sure there are other people out there who are not and would like counselling.

“Because of the centre’s lack of safety netting especially seeing that a lady jumped a while back I was just curious if you might as a group try and offer counselling for the families and young people that saw this tragic accident right in front of their own eyes? And maybe, just maybe, put up a safety net to prevent this from happening again.”

Others have taken to Twitter to vent their safety concerns.

Tony Axelrod tweeted: “The tragedy at the Bentall Centre yesterday must prompt action to screen off high levels. How many more incidents does there have to be?”

JadieeBoooo tweeted: “Seriously the Bentall Centre need to change the security measures to prevent people commuting suicide!”

Zoe Homewood said: “The kids section should be moved rather than be in the basement where they land.”

Zsuzsika Mai tweeted: “To avoid further situations like this, they need to change things, make the barriers higher or add nets or something.”

Shoppers were led out of the building and police cordoned off the area while paramedics attended to Joon, who had been at school earlier in the day.

He died at St George’s Hospital at about 6.15pm on Thursday evening.

Witnesses including children saw Joon fall.

A spokesman from the Bentall Centre said: “We are deeply saddened by the tragic incident that occurred on Thursday 17 July and extend our heartfelt sympathy to the deceased’s family as well as those who witnessed what happened.

“A police investigation is currently underway and the Health and Safety Executive are also undertaking an audit. The centre is co-operating fully with the authorities.”

A postmortem is due to take place this week.

Comments (10)

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1:36pm Mon 21 Jul 14

kingstonpaul says...

This is awfully tragic. Let's hope that the intervention of the Council leader is based on humane motives, rather than safeguarding the reputation and financial wellbeing of the Bentall Centre.
This is awfully tragic. Let's hope that the intervention of the Council leader is based on humane motives, rather than safeguarding the reputation and financial wellbeing of the Bentall Centre. kingstonpaul
  • Score: 4

3:05pm Mon 21 Jul 14

JD1905 says...

Putting up netting will stop people from jumping in the bentalls center. Instead, they'll just jump off Kingston bridge next door. Top idea.
Putting up netting will stop people from jumping in the bentalls center. Instead, they'll just jump off Kingston bridge next door. Top idea. JD1905
  • Score: 17

3:37pm Mon 21 Jul 14

DB says...

JD1905 wrote:
Putting up netting will stop people from jumping in the bentalls center. Instead, they'll just jump off Kingston bridge next door. Top idea.
Absolutely. Perhaps we should be investing more money into better understanding the causes of why people feel the need to do this.

There was another suicide on the train at Wimbledon this morning, despite 'measures being taken' to stop it happening.

Preventing incidents at the Bentall Centre will only push people determined to do this to other areas, and we can't make all of them safe.
[quote][p][bold]JD1905[/bold] wrote: Putting up netting will stop people from jumping in the bentalls center. Instead, they'll just jump off Kingston bridge next door. Top idea.[/p][/quote]Absolutely. Perhaps we should be investing more money into better understanding the causes of why people feel the need to do this. There was another suicide on the train at Wimbledon this morning, despite 'measures being taken' to stop it happening. Preventing incidents at the Bentall Centre will only push people determined to do this to other areas, and we can't make all of them safe. DB
  • Score: 23

4:19pm Mon 21 Jul 14

BTS1975 says...

JD1905 wrote:
Putting up netting will stop people from jumping in the bentalls center. Instead, they'll just jump off Kingston bridge next door. Top idea.
You clearly didn't read the article properly before making your short statement. The whole point to the netting is too stop innocent bystanders witnessing such a traumatic event.

Do you know how the people that witnessed this tragedy are feeling??
Can you possibly imagine what these poor people are going through after seeing this horrific incident??
Do you know what that sounds like? a body hitting concrete at such high speed?

Maybe you should think before making a comment like you have done.
[quote][p][bold]JD1905[/bold] wrote: Putting up netting will stop people from jumping in the bentalls center. Instead, they'll just jump off Kingston bridge next door. Top idea.[/p][/quote]You clearly didn't read the article properly before making your short statement. The whole point to the netting is too stop innocent bystanders witnessing such a traumatic event. Do you know how the people that witnessed this tragedy are feeling?? Can you possibly imagine what these poor people are going through after seeing this horrific incident?? Do you know what that sounds like? a body hitting concrete at such high speed? Maybe you should think before making a comment like you have done. BTS1975
  • Score: -2

4:24pm Mon 21 Jul 14

JD1905 says...

BTS1975 wrote:
JD1905 wrote:
Putting up netting will stop people from jumping in the bentalls center. Instead, they'll just jump off Kingston bridge next door. Top idea.
You clearly didn't read the article properly before making your short statement. The whole point to the netting is too stop innocent bystanders witnessing such a traumatic event.

Do you know how the people that witnessed this tragedy are feeling??
Can you possibly imagine what these poor people are going through after seeing this horrific incident??
Do you know what that sounds like? a body hitting concrete at such high speed?

Maybe you should think before making a comment like you have done.
So people won't witness it when they take their lives 2 minutes down the road then by jumping off the river? Or jump infront of a train at the train station?

Yes, it must have been awful for those who witnessed it, but moving the problem somewhere else does is not a resolution.
[quote][p][bold]BTS1975[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JD1905[/bold] wrote: Putting up netting will stop people from jumping in the bentalls center. Instead, they'll just jump off Kingston bridge next door. Top idea.[/p][/quote]You clearly didn't read the article properly before making your short statement. The whole point to the netting is too stop innocent bystanders witnessing such a traumatic event. Do you know how the people that witnessed this tragedy are feeling?? Can you possibly imagine what these poor people are going through after seeing this horrific incident?? Do you know what that sounds like? a body hitting concrete at such high speed? Maybe you should think before making a comment like you have done.[/p][/quote]So people won't witness it when they take their lives 2 minutes down the road then by jumping off the river? Or jump infront of a train at the train station? Yes, it must have been awful for those who witnessed it, but moving the problem somewhere else does is not a resolution. JD1905
  • Score: 15

4:32pm Mon 21 Jul 14

BTS1975 says...

JD1905 wrote:
BTS1975 wrote:
JD1905 wrote:
Putting up netting will stop people from jumping in the bentalls center. Instead, they'll just jump off Kingston bridge next door. Top idea.
You clearly didn't read the article properly before making your short statement. The whole point to the netting is too stop innocent bystanders witnessing such a traumatic event.

Do you know how the people that witnessed this tragedy are feeling??
Can you possibly imagine what these poor people are going through after seeing this horrific incident??
Do you know what that sounds like? a body hitting concrete at such high speed?

Maybe you should think before making a comment like you have done.
So people won't witness it when they take their lives 2 minutes down the road then by jumping off the river? Or jump infront of a train at the train station?

Yes, it must have been awful for those who witnessed it, but moving the problem somewhere else does is not a resolution.
Yes, spot on, I make you right, moving it somewhere else is not a resolution and it needs to be addressed.

The point to my first response was that your short comment about moving it down to Kingston Bridge and the Top Idea quote was totally uncalled for as it came across as rude and sarcastic and you clearly put no thought into your comment.

You should look at the whole picture before making rash statements.
[quote][p][bold]JD1905[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]BTS1975[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JD1905[/bold] wrote: Putting up netting will stop people from jumping in the bentalls center. Instead, they'll just jump off Kingston bridge next door. Top idea.[/p][/quote]You clearly didn't read the article properly before making your short statement. The whole point to the netting is too stop innocent bystanders witnessing such a traumatic event. Do you know how the people that witnessed this tragedy are feeling?? Can you possibly imagine what these poor people are going through after seeing this horrific incident?? Do you know what that sounds like? a body hitting concrete at such high speed? Maybe you should think before making a comment like you have done.[/p][/quote]So people won't witness it when they take their lives 2 minutes down the road then by jumping off the river? Or jump infront of a train at the train station? Yes, it must have been awful for those who witnessed it, but moving the problem somewhere else does is not a resolution.[/p][/quote]Yes, spot on, I make you right, moving it somewhere else is not a resolution and it needs to be addressed. The point to my first response was that your short comment about moving it down to Kingston Bridge and the Top Idea quote was totally uncalled for as it came across as rude and sarcastic and you clearly put no thought into your comment. You should look at the whole picture before making rash statements. BTS1975
  • Score: -9

5:59pm Mon 21 Jul 14

Rhii B says...

I'm not sure if it would work but maybe having the whole ground floor changed to have it a a food court with proper seating, like they have in Sutton, so it wouldn't be possible to jump without injuring someone else. I haven't heard of any suicide attempts at the Sutton center which has it's food court on the bottom floor so..
I'm not sure if it would work but maybe having the whole ground floor changed to have it a a food court with proper seating, like they have in Sutton, so it wouldn't be possible to jump without injuring someone else. I haven't heard of any suicide attempts at the Sutton center which has it's food court on the bottom floor so.. Rhii B
  • Score: -5

9:26pm Mon 21 Jul 14

Thisisjadz says...

I work in the bentalls centre and I don't like how it's set out, it's time to put measures to prevent this from happening. I was at work the day of the incident it was the most horrible thing ever haven't slept properly since, I say netting needs to be put up also bottom floor why is the baby.stuff on that floor move it to the main floor and I think food court downstairs and seating there would be a good idea it's little stuff like.this that can.prevent this stuff. We can't stop this happening my cousin committed suicide and when.they have their mind set on it, they find a way to do it. I think.security should be more alert if.they see someone acting like something is happening they should watch.them and try to help and stop it.
I work in the bentalls centre and I don't like how it's set out, it's time to put measures to prevent this from happening. I was at work the day of the incident it was the most horrible thing ever haven't slept properly since, I say netting needs to be put up also bottom floor why is the baby.stuff on that floor move it to the main floor and I think food court downstairs and seating there would be a good idea it's little stuff like.this that can.prevent this stuff. We can't stop this happening my cousin committed suicide and when.they have their mind set on it, they find a way to do it. I think.security should be more alert if.they see someone acting like something is happening they should watch.them and try to help and stop it. Thisisjadz
  • Score: 5

1:18pm Tue 22 Jul 14

Angela M says...

Yes, of course suicidal people will find a way to kill themselves eventually - but in the absence of any method of tracking these anonymous individuals down and offering them therapy beforehand, barriers and nets are all we have.

At least taking these measures at the Bentalls Centre would discourage suicides in a very busy place where innocent bystanders could get hurt.
Yes, of course suicidal people will find a way to kill themselves eventually - but in the absence of any method of tracking these anonymous individuals down and offering them therapy beforehand, barriers and nets are all we have. At least taking these measures at the Bentalls Centre would discourage suicides in a very busy place where innocent bystanders could get hurt. Angela M
  • Score: 6

4:09pm Wed 23 Jul 14

nmkingston1 says...

We live in South Korea as ex-pats, Korea has one of the highest suicide rates in the world - high pressure at school, work, the stress during the exams.


One of the high-end department stores in Seoul that we visit regularly - Shinsegae - have the safety netting stretched between the floors...whether it's a suicide or an accident. Perhaps Bentalls could do something similar?
We live in South Korea as ex-pats, Korea has one of the highest suicide rates in the world - high pressure at school, work, the stress during the exams. One of the high-end department stores in Seoul that we visit regularly - Shinsegae - have the safety netting stretched between the floors...whether it's a suicide or an accident. Perhaps Bentalls could do something similar? nmkingston1
  • Score: 5

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