MERSEYRAIL has defended its safety record after a Liverpool judge said the train network was “plagued” by violence.
Jailing Stephen Hoban, 23, who lashed his victim with a dog chain at Birkenhead Central station, Judge Nigel Gilmour, QC, said: “This is yet another case of violence on a Merseyside train, although perhaps somewhat different from a lot of the violence that plagues the train system on Merseyside.”
Hoban was on the platform at the station with his girlfriend when she saw a man she believed had once broken into her home.
Robert Jensen, prosecuting, said Hoban took the heavy metal lead from his dog’s neck and boarded the train.
He punched the man, Philip Dunne, and then lashed him five times with the chain as horrified passengers looked on.
Liverpool crown court heard that there was no evidence that the victim had burgled the woman's home.
The judge said that Hoban’s victim had been taken by surprise while he was defenceless and those watching must have been terrified
He accepted it had been a chance meeting, not premeditated, and Hoban had been encouraged by his girlfriend.
Hoban, of Ford Lane, Litherland, pleaded guilty to assault and causing actual bodily harm; he was jailed for six months.
Sarah Holt, defending, said that he accepted it had been unacceptable behaviour which he regretted.
The incident was quickly over and fortunately the victim, who suffered bruising and weals, was not seriously injured.
A spokesman for Merseyrail said: “Crime and disorder on Merseyrail has decreased dramatically, there has been a 31% drop in assaults in the last 12 months alone, and that is directly because of action being taken by us, Merseyrail and British Transport Police on board trains and at our stations.
“We are pioneering new and innovative approaches to tackling crime and the fear of crime, and we are continuing to work hard to improve the safety of our passengers.
“Currently the Merseyrail network has 53 of its 66 stations accredited through the Secure stations scheme – the highest of any region in the country – and we look forward to achieving the first completely accredited network in the UK.”http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2007/09/13/menace-of-the-yobs-on-our-trains-100252-19785309/