By Michael MacLeod
A PLUMBER has been jailed after scaling the Forth Road Bridge to commit suicide the day after his friend’s funeral.
William Keenan, 40, scaled the south tower of the iconic landmark on Tuesday evening bringing traffic to a halt for an hour.
His antics sparked a full scale response as concerned drivers below plagued emergency services with calls to report him.
Eventually, two bridge riggers spotted Keenan and managed to persuade him to climb down.
The suicide bid came on the same day bridge bosses revealed plans to use infra-red beams to catch people climbing up.
Yesterday at Dunfermline sheriff Court, Keenan admitted a breach of the peace and acting in a disorderly manner and was jailed for two months.
The court heard how Keenan lost his job with drains company Penant last month and had buried a close friend just the day before his attempted death jump.
Around 6pm on Tuesday a number of drivers started to call 999 reporting seeing a man jumping the fences and climbing the bridge’s 500feet.
This sparked a full-scale response from the emergency services – with 13 police vehicles from Fife and Lothian and Borders as well as the coastguard and ambulance.
When he got to top, he was seen hanging over the edge and looking down at the River Forth.
Bridge controllers followed him on CCTV while a police negotiator rushed to the scene.
But it was two bridge rig workers who eventually talked the Blackburn, West Lothian man out of jumping.
They accompanied him down in a lift and he was arrested at the bottom by waiting police.
Once in the police car he told cops: “You can do what you want to me, it’s the end of me anyway. I will just hang a noose around my next.”
Solicitor Andrew Aitken described Keenan’s background as “somewhat unfortunate”.
He said: “Mr Keenan was paid off a month ago and since then his mood became worse. Furthermore, he was at a close fri4end’s funeral the day before this. It was a number of factors which led him to the bridge.
“He is no longer suicidal and intends to get help from a GP. He cooperated calmly and quietly with the staff who spoke to him and since that point he decided he no longer wishes to take his life.”
But after hearing the facts of the case Sheriff Ian Dunbar was unsympathetic and jailed him for two months.
He said: “The court must have regard to the concerns which others raised. The court must also have regard for the inconvenience and cost of your actions.
“I am advised that there is no psychiatric history in your case. Having regard to the fact that you plead guilty I will reduce your sentence from three months to two months.
“I would advise you to seek any medical advice you can get.”