Suicidal driver in level crossing scare

A SUICIDAL motorist who nearly caused a major collision after driving under level crossing gates moments before a train arrived could be ordered to pay compensation for delaying rail services.

James Hore

A SUICIDAL motorist who nearly caused a major collision after driving under level crossing gates moments before a train arrived could be ordered to pay compensation for delaying rail services.

Richard Waring was in a “state of high emotion” when he drove his Land Rover Discovery onto the Church Street crossing at Kelvedon, near Colchester, in February this year.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard yesterday how the 57-year-old architect formally of Benton Street, Hadleigh, changed his mind at the last moment and smashed through the gates, causing �1,400 of damage as he got his four-by-four vehicle off the track.


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But when Waring pleaded guilty yesterday to causing criminal damage totalling �1,400 for the replacement of the barriers, Jane Oldfield, prosecuting, said she would also be applying for �17,600 compensation including the cost of two hours delay to trains whilst the crossing was repaired.

Recorder Mrs P. May said she thought it would be “difficult to quantify” the costs of delays and Waring's defending barrister, John Donnelly said he would bear such issues in mind “every time I buy my ticket at Liverpool Street Station”.

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The court heard how Waring stopped on the tracks, but “happily changed his mind” before crashing through the barrier in order to get out.

The drama, which happened just after 4pm on February 16, followed an incident with Waring and his estranged wife Diana Jones, in Hadleigh. He was convicted of criminal damage after he smashed a front door in an attempt to see her.

When Waring drove onto the mainline, police said frantic onlookers rang 999 to report what appeared to be a “suicidal driver” on the tracks with a train “just moments away”.

The Kelvdeon incident set off a sensor in the barrier which immediately flagged up the problem at the crossing with Network Rail.

Workers were then sent to the site and spent about 40 minutes placing the barrier back on its hinges.

Trains on the mainline into London were slowed to ensure the safety of engineers and it was reported at the time that there were “no significant delays”.

Waring, who is now a project manager for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, was told that he would not be jailed but a pre-sentence report will now be prepared so other punishments could be considered.

He was released on conditional bail and will be sentenced at the same court later this year.

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