Man Jailed After Dropping Cycle On Railway
A man who dropped a cycle onto a live rail at Woolston railway station, Hampshire, causing an explosion and sending sparks flying, has been jailed for a year.
Just minutes later, the cycle was struck by a high-speed express train passing through the station.
Kenny Thornton (24), of Tatwin Crescent, Thornhill, Southampton, was sentenced at Southampton Crown Court on Monday, 2 October after earlier pleading guilty to endangering safety and destroying property.
For endangering safety, Thornton was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment. For destroying property he was sentenced to three months' imprisonment. Both sentences will run concurrently.
The court heard that Thornton and two other men had been drinking at a pub in Woolston on Friday, 7 January.
After leaving the pub, Thornton and his friends - one of whom had a bicycle with him - stopped at a shop to buy more lager and continued drinking before making their way to Woolston rail station.
At 5.50pm, Thornton pushed his friend's cycle over to the platform edge before dropping it onto the tracks, causing an explosion and sending a shower of sparks flying five feet into the air.
Two-and-a-half minutes later the cycle was struck by a non-stop First Great Western express service passing through the station.
Thornton fled the scene but was quickly identified and arrested after investigators issued a public appeal for information, with CCTV images of him widely publicised in local newspapers and on television.
Inspector Mick Morriss, based at Southampton BTP station on Blechynden Terrace, said:
"I cannot over-emphasise enough the dangers associated with this type of crime.
"Thornton's actions delayed and disrupted 17 other rush hour services and meant a Network Rail engineering team had to carry out emergency repairs to the tracks, costing over £15,000.
"Thankfully through sheer luck no-one was injured and the train was relatively undamaged, but we may not be so fortunate if this happens again.
"This was an utterly thoughtless act of vandalism that could have had far worse consequences and we welcome the sentence handed down to him."
Ellie Reilly, community safety manager for Network Rail, said:
"We see far too much of this sort of pointless vandalism on the railway. Some people think it is harmless fun, but it often causes huge delays for passengers, costs thousands of pounds to repair damage and puts people's safety at risk.
"This sentence sends out a strong message that anyone caught committing these crimes will face tough consequences for their actions."
A spokesperson for First Great Western said:
"This was potentially a very serious incident and we completely support the BTP investigation."