AN HEROIC window cleaner stopped a 14-year-old girl hanging herself from a tree by clinging to her for more than an hour in the freezing cold.

Barry Parr, of Winsford Road, Catford, saw the girl climb the tree while he was working in West Wickham.

Mr Parr, 51, said: "I was working in The Avenue when I saw a girl walking up and down wearing nothing over her T-shirt and wondered what was going on.

"Then, I heard her shouting and she'd climbed about 15ft up a tree. She undid her laces and tied them together round her neck."

Mr Parr said: "I went over with my small ladder, but couldn't put it against the tree.

"She climbed even higher to what must have been about 30ft. I rushed for my big ladder but she wrapped the laces around a branch."

The girl, a patient at Bethlem Royal Hospital, Beckenham, told Mr Parr to go away because she wanted to kill herself.

He said: "I grabbed her round the waist. I was standing with one foot on the ladder and one arm round her. I couldn't do anything because her neck was still connected to the branch. "She was getting hysterical, and to be honest, I remember thinking it must have looked almost comical."

Firefighters, police and paramedics closed off the street and, after almost an hour, managed to lower the pair back to solid ground at about 3.30pm, last Wednesday.

Mr Parr said: "The police, fire and ambulance arrived and gave me a hoist.

"They had to saw through some of the branches to get the big hydraulic lift up and get us down.

"I was quite emotional because I remember when my two daughters were 14."

He added: "Looking back, it seems like a big thing to do but you don't see that at the time."

Temporary leading firefighter Paul Kelly, of Bromley Fire Station, said: "Mr Parr was very brave.

"He was only wearing jeans and a T-shirt and was up there for more than an hour in a very awkward position.

"We do deal with people threatening to jump, but I've never seen one so young."

He added: "I've got a 14-year-old daughter myself, and it was quite worrying."

The girl was taken to Bromley Hospital.