A thuggish commuter who flew into a rage and launched a shameful attack on a conductor after he saw his train pulling away from the platform is today facing being banned from the railways for life.
A judge has heard how coverage of the shocking incident in The Gazette helped bring 27-year-old Christopher Casson to justice, after he launched his vicious assault because he was late for work.
In frustration you lashed out. The one thing that irks me even more is that you claimed you had been provoked, that is utter nonsense
A court heard this was the third time Casson had vented his frustrations with rail staff.
But he has avoided being jailed for his latest attack, which happened early on January 14 this year.
During his time on bail for assaulting a train guard, sales assistant Casson was forbidden from travelling on any Northern Rail service in Britain.
Now a District Judge has heard how the company is considering taking out a civil injuction barring him from their services for life.
Judge James Hatton, sitting at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court, told Casson, who admitted assaulting a guard-conductor: “This was a terrible incident.
“In frustration you lashed out. The one thing that irks me even more is that you claimed you had been provoked, that is utter nonsense.
“Your victim was doing his work assisting the public. Whenever you get on a railway you are a danger with a temper like this, and from I have heard today this could well be followed up by further action against you.”
Casson, of Vicarage Lane, Marton, was given an eight-week jail term, suspended for a year, 150 hours’ unpaid work for the community and he must pay court costs of £80.
He must also pay his victim £150 compensation.
Pam Smith,prosecuting, said that the 8.20am from Blackpool South to Preston was just leaving the platform when the victim heard shouting and a big bang. He leaned out of a window and saw Casson who said he needed to get on the train or he would be late for work.
Casson was refused entry and then he shouted and swore, the court heard.
“He continued shouting and banging and by this time the train had halted after the driver was alerted,” added the prosecutor.
“Casson then grabbed hold of (the victim) and he put his back pack on the platform.
“He clenched his fist and punched (the victim) in the face.
“He then went after him a second time but by then the driver and a maintenance man working on the station had intervened. Casson ran off and the train had to be cancelled.”
The judge heard how the guard had to have hospital treatment and an appeal by Northern Rail to track down his assailant was made through the Press.
The Gazette featured the story on its front page the following day and ran CCTV footage from the incident on its website in the following days.
From that, Casson was recognised by another passenger as a regular commuter to Preston and was later picked out at an ID parade.
In a statement the victim said: “I did not leave my home for four days after what happened
“I told my daughter I had been hurt playing football as I did not want her to get scared by the fact I had been beaten up at work.
“I was very apprehensive about going back to work and I never want to see that man again.”
Steven Duffy, defending, said: “My client has only two other serious offences on his record, and strangely both of them involve the railways.
“He has a problem with them and I believe the rail authorities may take civil injunctive proceedings against him to make sure this never happens again.”
He added: “He lives in Blackpool and works in Preston and his appalling behaviour on the day of this assault is because he thought he was going to be late for work.”
A Northern Rail spokesman said: “We have a zero tolerance towards abuse of our staff in their place of work.They must be protected and work safely.”
The spokesman added that the company is yet to decide what course of action to take next.