Woman threatened with prison after suicide bid
Ex-footballer says appearance in court after incident at bridge made her feel ‘like a criminal’
A former women’s footballer who was arrested after threatening to jump off a bridge while suicidal, said she was left feeling “like a criminal” after a court threatened her with jail.
Kimberley Macfarlane was charged with breach of the peace and told she could have faced a custodial sentence having “inconvenienced” the public with her suicide bid.
The 24-year-old tried to jump off a motorway bridge in January 2018, resulting in a court case the following month at Dunfermline Sheriff Court.
She previously jumped off a bridge in August 2016, breaking two vertebrae in her back and was in a brace for three months.
The court heard traffic was halted twice on successive days and road closures put in place after she threatened to jump from a motorway flyover.
Sheriff Craig McSherry admonished be required as people are often given better mental health care in jail rather than through the NHS. That’s actually quite worrying.
“It would be good to shape how things are done in the future.”
The former Dunfermline Athletic Ladies captain has a rare condition that leaves her in constant pain.
In 2015 she was hit in the face while playing football and had surgery to mend her squint nose.
She developed Fowler’s Syndrome which affects one in a million women and can leave them unable to urinate.
Her own GP had not even heard of the rare illness and experts were baffled as to why it started after a nose operation.
After being active and healthy, Kimberley left hospital with a catheter and battles chronic pain and infections.
Hearing of her case, elite sports charity Support in Sport reached out and offered her free treatment.
They provided a physiotherapist, who has helped with her back problems, and she will get access to a sports doctor and sports psychologist this month.
On December 4, Kimberley took part in a sponsored run at Hampden Park in aid of Support in Sport and the Express Group, a Fife mental health charity.
She has since raised £1,070 for causes close to her heart.
Kimberley is focused on the year ahead, trying to improve her fitness and is hopeful of playing football again. her but warned that if it became clear she still posed a risk of further offending, prison was an option.
He said: “A custodial sentence would at least mean the public are not being inconvenienced in this way.”
Kimberley, from Dunfermline, said she was left feeling “worthless” following her court case in February.
She said: “I had run away from the mental health hospital I was in then spent the night in the cells after I nearly jumped off the bridge.
“When we got to hospital it was hard, there was no one to talk to. Then I was stuck in this room by myself.
“When I appeared in court the next day I was handcuffed to a G4S officer and taken to a holding room for four or five hours.
“If I was to hurt anyone it would only have been myself.
“The sheriff must never have experienced poor mental health because he said I was being an ‘inconvenience’ because the road had to be shut.
“I felt like I was a criminal who had done something wrong. My mum saw me in handcuffs.”
Kimberley was charged with breach of the peace and allowed to go home, but says her mental health was affected.
In a bid to change, Kimberley is now an NHS 24 Youth Forum representative for Fife and spoke to her local MSP for Dunfermline, Shirley-Anne Somerville.
She said: “Additional support should
The sheriff must never have experienced poor mental health. KIMBERLEY MACFARLANE
Kimberley Macfarlane playing football for Dunfermline Athletic Ladies in 2013; on holiday in Benidorm in 2015; and in hospital in 2016, when she had surgery on her damaged nose.