Published: 17/12/2006 12:00 AM (UAE)
Drunk caused chaos to trains after passing out
By Amy Iggulden, The Telegraph Group Limited, London 2006
London: A former company director brought chaos to train services after passing out drunk and settling down to sleep it off comfortably with his head on the line.
Kevin Craswell, 48, was snoring so loudly that commuters could hear him from the platform as he lay across the tracks with his feet inches from the live rail.
Staff had to switch off the power, causing delays for thousands of people on four routes. Trains were disrupted for hours, costing £8,000 (Dh57,402). CCTV footage of the incident, taken from a police helicopter, showed a train being diverted to avoid striking Craswell at Epsom, Surrey.
He appeared in court on Friday and faced up to six months in prison after admitting obstructing the railway by neglect.
But Ron Fewtrell, a magistrate at Redhill, said he did not believe Craswell intended to harm people. He ordered him to undertake 180 hours of community service under an 18-month supervision order and to pay £560 (Dh4,018) compensation.
Pc Keith Board, of British Transport Police, said: "It was remarkable that he wasn't struck by a train or fatally electrocuted. Trains had to stop running and the power was turned off so police and emergency crews could get to him."
Pc Graham Cottington, said: "If he had moved his leg one foot, he would have touched the live rail and there's 750 volts going through that. He would certainly have died."
Craswell, an unemployed father of one from Ashtead, Surrey, was taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia after the incident on March 3.
Graham Guerin, defending, had told an earlier hearing: "This is a professional man who fell on hard times five years ago and developed a drink problem. He had drunk a substantial amount of vodka and has no recollection of this incident."