Doncaster man jailed for lying down on train tracks in ‘cry for help’

A 41-year-old man who lay down on train tracks at a Doncaster railway station in a ‘cry for help’ has been jailed for four months.

Monday, 23rd September 2019, 1:15 pm
Updated Saturday, 28th September 2019, 4:46 am
The incident took place at Bentley railway station on June 6 this year. Picture: Google Maps

A request for assistance was sent out, after Liam Stapleton stood in front of a train at Bentley railway station at around 11.15am on June 6 this year.

Laura Marshall, prosecuting, told Sheffield Crown Court that CCTV images submitted to the court show Stapleton ‘initially standing in front of the train’ before moving to a nearby tunnel and lying down on the tracks.

“Rail staff did attend and did manage to speak with the defendant who did engage with them. He sat up and they indicated that it wasn’t safe for him to remain in the position he was in. He got up and began to walk in the direction of Doncaster,” said Mrs Marshall.

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Stapleton was told it would be quicker for him to return to Bentley station, and was eventually arrested by police.

“He initially gave the name Cilla Black to officers, before he gave his real name. They were sufficiently concerned about his mental health and he was taken to hospital. He was then taken to the police station,” said Mrs Marshall.

She told the court that the incident led to 416 minutes of delays on the rail network, as well as four part-cancellations, costing Network Rail a total of £33,269.

Stapleton, of Littlemoor Lane, Hexthorpe pleaded guilty to a charge of obstructing an engine or carriage using a railway at an earlier hearing.

Edward Moss said in mitigation: “It’s clear from the psychiatric and pre-sentence reports that this was a cry for help from a man who has absolutely hit rock bottom.”

“At the time of this offence he was dealing with the tragic death of his brother and the breakdown of his relationship with his former partner,” added Mr Moss.

Judge Michael Slater sentenced Stapleton to four months in prison, which he said was equivalent to the time he has spent on remand, meaning his release from custody is likely to be ‘immediate or very imminent’.

“This was a cry for help. But the reason this is so serious is because it caused considerable delays and costs...and the railway staff who came to help did so before the line was closed, at significant risk to themselves,” said Judge Slater