A suicidal man was encouraged to leap off a four-storey building by a baying mob who filmed the incident and posted it on YouTube.
The crowd – including a mother with small children – shouted ‘Jump’ at the 26-year-old as police tried to reason with him.
After a two-hour stand-off, the man plunged 50ft off the roof of a bridal shop and suffered critical injuries. Last night he was fighting for his life in hospital.
Police said footage and photographs of the incident in Portsmouth had later been posted on various websites and on YouTube.
Officers had cordoned off part of a road after the man, who was drinking from a can of lager, was seen clambering over shop roofs on Tuesday morning.
He eventually stopped on the bridal shop roof and a 100-strong crowd gathered in the street below.
Witness Timothy Braithwaite said he was horrified at the ghoulish behaviour of those taking videos.
‘There was a mother there with her young kids, and she was filming it! I don’t understand how you can be there with kids in the first place, never mind filming it. She was giggling the whole time, like she was getting aroused by it! It’s disgusting,’ he said.
The injured man’s parents, who said the incident was ‘completely out of character’, condemned the actions of those involved.
In a statement, they said: ‘He is a vulnerable man who has had to deal with some significant challenges in his life and when he clearly needed compassion and understanding was met with cruel taunts and encouragement to end his life. Despite this, he is hanging on in hospital and we are hoping he will recover. If he does, he will have a long journey ahead.
‘The behaviour of those at the scene on Tuesday shows a lack of understanding for people like our son and what they may be going through.’
A woman in a nearby office described hearing people - including the young mother - encouraging the man to kill himself.
‘There were some people shouting at the man to jump – one man who shouted was angry because he couldn’t get to the Job Centre as it was within the cordoned off area,’ she said.
‘I also saw three people filming what was going on and others were taking photographs too.
‘Taking a video is definitely crossing the line. And it’s even worse that they then posted the videos on the internet – I just don’t understand it.’
‘Everyone in the street gasped when he jumped, while others laughed. The sound was horrendous; it was a combination of a loud thump, a crumple and a bang.
‘As we are on the second floor of the building, I actually saw him fly past our window while I was looking out.’
Hampshire Constabulary said it had contacted internet sites which had posted the images and asked for the footage to be removed.
A spokesman added: ‘This was a disgusting display by members of the public. It was undignified and callous.
‘It showed a complete lack of empathy for the person involved and for officers trying to deal with a very sensitive situation under immense pressure.’
The man was at Southampton General Hospital with his family at his side last night.