Brundall teenager who had leg amputated after jumping from Norwich multi-storey car park shares her story of recovery

Almost nine months ago Lucy Adcock jumped from the top of a multi-storey car park in Norwich. Photo:

Almost nine months ago Lucy Adcock jumped from the top of a multi-storey car park in Norwich. Photo: Lucy Adcock - Credit: Archant

Almost nine months ago Lucy Adcock jumped from the top of a multi-storey car park in Norwich.

St Stephens roundabout in Norwich following the incident. Photo: Archant

St Stephens roundabout in Norwich following the incident. Photo: Archant - Credit: Archant

Aged just 18 at the time and suffering from severe depression, she had intended to take her own life that day.

But thanks to a police officer who managed to grab her ankle at the last second, the fall did not kill her.

Instead she was left with a life-changing injury.

Now, Miss Adcock, from Brundall, has shared her story on how she's turned her life around in the hope it will stop others from doing the same.

And she has a message of hope for those who are also going through a difficult period in their lives.

'If I could turn back time, I would have stopped myself,' Miss Adcock said.

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'Not just because of the leg, but because of the hurt it caused people. To know that someone they loved could do that.'

Miss Adcock, who lost both of her parents when she was young, had suffered from depression since the age of 12.

But in the days leading up to November 15 last year, she had hit 'rock bottom'.

Just 24 hours before she jumped from St Stephens Street Car Park in Norwich, Miss Adcock had attempted to harm herself and had to be treated in hospital.

Despite being seen by a mental health liaison team member that day, she was allowed to go home.

The following afternoon, on November 15, 2016, Miss Adcock took a train to the city and made her way to the car park.

'That day I called six different people. Four of those were from mental health services, and not one answered,' she said.

'That to me was a sign that 'okay this is going to happen'.'

Having purchased a bottle of whisky, the former Framingham Earl High School pupil sat at the top of the car park for several hours.

'At around 8pm I decided it was time and I walked over to the edge,' she said.

'And within a minute there was a guard running over and asking if I was okay.

'The police turned up really quickly, and an officer was trying to talk me down, but it was not happening because I had already decided what I was going to do.'

The officer, who Miss Adcock still speaks to now, managed to grab her ankle as she fell backwards.

But her boot slipped and she fell to the ground.

Her next memory was waking up in intensive care at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital with a brace on her left leg.

As well as a fractured pelvis, Miss Adcock had snapped her left tibia and severed an artery.

Despite the best efforts from surgeons, and after eight operations, the decision was taken to amputate it from the knee down.

'I was devastated at first because all my freedom had gone,' Miss Adcock said. 'I'm a sporty person and to be wheelchair bound made me feel even more low. I felt like a burden to people.'

Miss Adcock was discharged from hospital days before Christmas. Over the following months she swapped her wheelchair for crutches, and began getting out more.

Then, in June this year got rid of her crutches altogether and started walking independently with a prosthetic limb.

'Now I'm back to my normal self and I'm walking around again, it's brilliant,' she said.

'I still have these lows. I have just battled through one and it is difficult.

'But it's about learning that it is okay to feel low and that it's perfectly normal. You don't have to feel like you are in some sort of tiny box.

Miss Adcock, whose father took his own life when she was a young girl, and whose mother died from cancer in December 2015, said it was vital to speak to someone when you are feeling low.

'If you can't talk, you end up bottling it all up and at some point you will explode,' she said.

'It's difficult because when you are in that state, you don't tend to listen to advice, but the thing to do, if you are coming to a low go up to the hospital and they will assess you.'

Miss Adcock said she was optimistic for the future and said she hoped to follow her passion for art - and one day teach it.

In the meantime, she is campaigning to try and get anti-climb fences installed at the St Stephen's Street Car Park, which is owned by National Car Parks (NCP).

She said: 'If they put up curved fences, it would deter a lot of people.'

The Samaritans are available to talk 24 hours a day by calling 116 123.

Car park owners told barriers are needed

Norfolk Police said the owners of the St Stephen's Street car park had been advised that a physical barrier was required.

A spokesman said officers met with NCP, the health and safety executive and Norwich City Council last month to discuss the matter.

'He [the owner] has been instructed to make alterations to his car park,' the spokesman said.

NCP, which owns St Stephen's Street car park, said it takes health and safety 'extremely seriously'.

The company said it carries out full assessments after any serious incidents which take place on its sites.

'We are very aware of the need to protect vulnerable people who may visit our car parks and work closely with the Samaritans on this issue,' a spokesman said.

'Our internal Health and Safety team in conjunction with operational colleagues will be carrying out an enquiry next week to look into any further preventative measures.'

NHS investigation

Following the incident, the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust carried out an investigation as to what happened.

It found a number of problems with service delivery in regard to Lucy Adcock's case, including:

• Incorrect crisis numbers were given to Miss Adcock.

• Risk assessments were not robust enough.

• The youth service waiting list prevents timely individualised treatment for young people.

• Non-adherence to the triangle of care.

The investigation concluded that a more-thorough risk assessment may have prevented the incident from occurring.

Miss Adcock said she should have been sectioned after attempting to cut her neck the day before she jumped.

But the investigation said when Miss Adcock was reviewed by the mental health liason team in hospital on November 14, she was summarised as having 'no acute mental illness' and was discharged as 'medically fit'.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust response

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said it could not discuss individual cases due to patient confidentiality.

But said it was looking to provide 'clearer information' to young people on waiting lists and ensure crisis telephone numbers are correct.

It is also reviewing its follow up times if a young person goes into crisis and is seen in an acute hospital.

Debbie White, director of operations in Norfolk for NSFT said: 'We are also committed to looking at closer working with carers as part of the triangle of care model, which involves carers and families in the care planning and treatment of people with mental ill-health.'

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