Anger in Barrow as woman fined and named after a cry for help incident

The prosecution and subsequent naming of a distressed young woman by The Mail has lead to outrage by locals in Barrow.

Nearly 200 people have expressed anger at the coverage on the Kendal-based newspaper's Facebook page.

They reported from court papers and named a 20-year-old who had been in a distressed state on Michaelson Road Bridge on the morning of Wednesday October 31.

Police and paramedics were called and the bridge was closed to traffic and pedestrians.

The charge states the woman "was threatening to harm herself resulting in members of the public having to find alternative routes".

Furious locals are rallying people in Barrow to pay the lady’s fine.

Dan Webber, who is focusing on mental health issues and raising awareness in Barrow in 2019 with his Kick Off 4 Mental Health campaign said: “Nobody should be classed as a 'nuisance' for a mental health problem. That could have been a final plea. Then what? Who would they have fined?

“I feel that public naming of the young lady now only makes her feel more isolated and scared to talk about mental health under the possibility of being judged.”

Barrow Labour group member Harriet Cooper has offered to pay the young woman’s court costs herself and is asking anyone who wants to help to get in touch,

She said: “Me and my mum, and sister are so disgusted by how she has been treated, we want to help if we can.

“We would like to offer to pay for your fine and surcharge, Whatever costs she had. Nobody should be fined for poor mental health.. It’s outrageous and we want to help. We have suffered in our own ways too so totally understand, totally get it.

“If anyone can help us get in touch with her, we’d be grateful.

Karen Mahaffy added: “ There are two issues here, 1) criminalising somebody who is in the depth of despair and at their lowest moment and 2) The Mail printing the lady's name.

“The Mail will no doubt respond that this information is in the public arena and they have done nothing wrong by reporting in full what is revealed in court.but The Mail needs to understand that it has a moral and ethical duty in cases such as this and it would be a damn sight more respected if it made a decision based on compassion and understanding rather than throwing in the Samaritans number and thinking that means they're supportive . Why do you not act on the advise given to you by local mental health groups over many years when they advise you about the damage this kind of reporting does to individuals.”

Locals are setting up a Facebook link to help the woman pay the court costs and we will share link when verified.

Screenshot of The Mail's article link on their Facebook page, in which states the woman's full name and part of her address:

UPDATE: The fundraiser setup by Harriet Cooper has now been approved by Facebook, this is to help the young lady cover any court costs and the fine. Any surplus will be donated to Kick Off 4 Mental Health. Click here to donate:

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