Anarchy in the UK

These days, every major news story comes with a single iconic photograph. For the riots in Britain, that photo was not that of looting hooligans, burning centuries-old buildings or clean-up afterwards; instead, it captured a human tragedy of one Polish émigré, who has been in the UK for only five months.

On Monday night, 32-year old Monika Konczyk, had chosen to stay inside her one-bedroom flat above a row of shops because of rioting and looting outside. She did not have any possessions with her when she jumped, and her flat has been completely destroyed.

Amy Weston, a photographer with London’s WENN photo agency, captured this iconic moment on the Church Street, Croydon. She remembers the chaotic times:

By the time I drove toward it, I could already see the fires from my windscreen. There were six or seven people screaming and crying outside, and they looked like they lived at the flats that were burning. A man in a white shirt was screaming that a girl was at the window and that she was ready to jump. He ran toward her, but riot police had appeared and pulled him back, and they went to her instead.

As soon as she dropped, the crowds pushed back and there was no way to see what happened to her. I remember hearing people screaming that there were more people in the building. The crowds started getting angry with each other, with one group blaming another group for starting the fire. I couldn’t get to my car, so I had to walk, wrapping my camera in my clothes to avoid being mugged.”

The photograph quickly went viral on Twitter and was featured on the front pages of many British newspapers, including the Times, the Sun and the Daily Telegraph.

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Anatomy of A Jump