Teenager went on train rampage after forcing it to make emergency stop, court told
A DUBLIN youth, who went on a vandalism rampage on a train after he forced it to make an emergency stop, is to be sentenced in March.
The boy, 17, who had no ticket, began shattering windows after he was attacked by a man who overheard him asking for help to pull the emergency chord. The incident which left terrified passengers happened on a Sligo-Dublin train on June 27 last
The boy, who had 21 prior criminal convictions, pleaded not guilty to criminal damage but was found guilty following his trial at the Dublin Children's Court. Judge John O'Connor did not accept defence claims that the teenager lawfully damaged the windows in a bid to escape from a man who had attacked him.
The boy boarded at Maynooth without a ticket and was carrying three bottles of beer. CCTV footage showed him talking to a young couple on the train before another passenger approached him and started beating him over the head with knuckle-dusters.
A verbal altercation continued and Garda Eoin Pelly said it was a frightening situation and “the whole carriage emptied”.
After the assault, the train was approaching Ashtown station but was going non-stop until Connolly station. The youth went to the back of the carriage, took possession of a shatter hammer and pulled the emergency chord forcing the train to come to a halt. He then used the hammer to hit a number of windows but did not succeed in breaking them.
He caused €5,700 worth of damages and the train was out of service for a day.
He walked to the driver's cabin door and waited there until the driver emerged. The teen then went into the cabin, exited the train and “ran down the tracks to Broombridge station”.
An elderly woman gave evidence in the trial and said that before the teenager had been attacked he had been telling a young man and woman that he had a problem and he was going to “jump the train at Broomer”.
The 88-year-old woman said she became frightened and left the carriage but moments later she saw the teenager was dripping blood.
In evidence the teenager admitted he had no ticket and that he had wanted to get out at Broombridge. However he said he would have gone on to Connolly Station and travelled back from there but he was afraid of the man who had attacked him.
He admitted he did not have a ticket and admitted he had asked for help to stop the train. “ Then some fellah started screaming from behind me I started getting the smacks then,” the 17-year-old said.
He said he was afraid this man would have people waiting to get him at Connolly Station.
Defence solicitor Geraldine McKenzie argued the teenager had a lawful excuse to damage the windows because he had been attacked and wanted to get away. He thought he was going to be killed and that people were waiting for him at Connolly Station, the lawyer said.
Judge John O'Connor rejected the defence argument. He noted the teenager did not have a ticket, had admitted he had five drinks taken and the judge said the teen had not needed to break the windows as he could have gone to Irish Rail staff to ask them to call gardai.
The court heard the teenager had previous conviction for public order, theft, robbery and criminal damage offences.
Ms McKenzie asked the court to note that the teenager, who was accompanied to court by his mother, is very immature but has been attending a education programme for youths and he hopes to get onto a training course.
Judge O'Connor noted the teenager had a significant drink and drug problems and asked for a probation report to be prepared. The teenager was remanded on bail to appear again on March 26 for sentencing.