Ben Silcock

On 31st December 1992 Ben Silcock, then 27 years old, climbed into the lion's enclosure at London Zoo where he was mauled by a lion. In the newspaper accounts it was evident that he suffered from schizophrenia. His father Bryan Silcock added that 'he would sit up in his room smoking dope'. One national newspaper asked why people like Ben were not in hospital and his father blamed the health authorities for letting his son down. Since that time Marjorie Wallace has reported (The Times 31st December 1993) that Ben Silcock climbed into the lion's enclosure at London Zoo carrying two frozen turkeys to share with them. He was said to have a spiritual affinity with animals, especially big cats, and felt that he had a mission to relieve their suffering. He saw them as victims of man's oppression and said, after admission to hospital, that 'he had to test himself against the reality of nature'. According to Ms Wallace, he was being treated in 1993 in Bethlem Royal Hospital, where he had been admitted after wounding two police officers with a Stanley knife. Ben was a well-known public figure who was a patient at Bethlem Royal Hospital during the 1990s to the early 2000s.

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