AddThis SmartLayers

Reporter ends homeless man’s three-hour police rooftop stand-off

A three-hour police rooftop stand-off was resolved by a regional daily after the homeless man involved agreed to climb down on the condition that a reporter would talk to him.

Mason McLatchie, who is scared of heights, made a deal with Staffordshire Police that he would only climb down from a building he had scaled if he could speak to a reporter from Stoke-on-Trent daily The Sentinel.

Mr McLatchie had threatened to harm himself before trained negotiators called the Sentinel to make the newspaper aware of his demand.

Newly-appointed reporter Yasmin Sarwar duly attended the scheme and spoke to him, providing a splash for the paper on Friday.

Sentinel homeless

Mr McLatchie told her: “I don’t want people to think I’m a crazy person who lost his head and climbed up a building.

“I’m scared of heights but this has had to be done, I don’t even like going up a ladder.

“I’ve had to climb up here to get you [The Sentinel] here so that you can write an article and people might finally listen to what homeless people have to say.

“I’ve been homeless a long time and I’ve seen a lot of suffering.

“I have good friends who live on the streets and I see what it does to the homeless community – especially girls and women. Enough is enough, the men can brave it but it’s much harder for the girls.

“I have a close friend who’s female and she’s freezing in a blanket with a black eye – which wouldn’t have happened if she was in a house. My whole circle of friends are suffering – imagine seeing that every day.

“Most people meet in McDonald’s or a cafe or a restaurant for a social occasion but we meet on the street or in a squat. Looking at us, most people don’t realise we’re homeless or what’s going on, and it’s killing me.

“There are mums, dads, aunties, uncles, nannas, grandads, sons, daughters – we’re all homeless, but people don’t think about it enough. I can’t stand it anymore.”

Sentinel deputy news editor Hayley Parker told HTFP said Yas had gone down to the scene “without hesitation” even though she had already finished for the day.

She had been at The Sentinel for some time as a Facebook reporter but was offered a permanent role as a reporter last week.