Man in police rooftop stand-off darts across building in risky move

Police negotiators look as a man on a Portsmouth City Council block of flats in Murefield Road, Portsmouth, near Asda runs across the pitched roof. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Police negotiators look as a man on a Portsmouth City Council block of flats in Murefield Road, Portsmouth, near Asda runs across the pitched roof. Picture: Habibur Rahman

THIS photograph captures the moment a man involved in a five-hour rooftop standoff with police made the risky move to dart across the pitched roof of a three-storey building.

Shocked shoppers stopped in the car park at nearby Asda in Fratton as startled police negotiators spun round to watch the man run.

Moments before this picture was taken the man, wearing a black hoodie and carrying a man bag, had been pacing the flat roof at the end of the block.

Worried onlookers gasped when the man, who has not been named, seized large blocks from the chimney on the building and gripped on to the television aerial as he stumbled.

Police had been called in at around 8.40am to Murefield Road to a ‘suspicious incident’ to reports of a man scaling the building.

Nearly five hours later at just after 1.30pm the deadlock was broken and the man agreed to make the short jump down on to the outdoor walkway at the block.

Roof tiles had been hurled to the ground during the incident, with police and firefighters putting up a cordon at the Asda car park.

Passing street pastor Annette Welfare, who was with friends from church at the supermarket, said she was praying for a safe conclusion.

The 57-year-old from Portsmouth said: ‘We’re all Christians from Harbour Church in Portsmouth and believe in caring for our community passionately and we know God cares and he can answer our prayers.

‘We want that guy to be safe and the police and fire to have the right wisdom and guidance and to bring this incident to a safe conclusion for the guy and everybody involved.’

During the incident traffic was directed by police in Arundel Street. The petrol station remained open but access to the supermarket’s car park was limited.

Crowds had gathered to watch as the man walked back and forth on the flat roof, coming dangerously close to the edge.

On several occasions he sat on the chimney, and emptied much of his pockets or bag towards negotiators.

- A Southsea 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.