Fare-dodging passenger threatened to stab train ticket inspector in face
- Credit: Archant
A fare-dodging rail passenger threatened to stab a member of staff in the face after being caught without a ticket.
Zak Jones must pay the ticket collector compensation for the incident on a train at Stowmarket.
The 30-year-old admitted making threats with intent to cause fear of violence at Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Monday.
Jones, of Temple Road, Stowmarket, appeared in custody following his arrest on Saturday.
Prosecutor David Bryant said the incident happened between 6am and 6.45am on February 21, when Jones was asked to show ID to be issued with a penalty fare after failing to present a ticket.
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When challenged, he tried to push past the ticket collector and said: "I will stab you in the face".
Mr Bryant said the threat caused fear of immediate violence for the crew member, who tried reasoning with Jones by saying "don't be silly", before gaining a safe distance and locking the door between carriages.
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Jones, who left the train and was later arrested, failed to recall the incident during a police interview but admitted being a drug user whose behaviour altered when under the influence.
Mark Holt, mitigating, said Jones was picked up on a warrant last weekend, after failing to attend court on October 1 in answer to a postal requisition sent to an unrecognised address.
He said class A drug use had been an on-and-off problem for Jones since the age of 15, but that he had kicked the habit after being prescribed methadone in jail between June and August.
Mr Holt said Jones had since returned to work, operating excavators on building sites, and had little memory of the incident.
"He speculates he may have made the comment because he didn't want to be challenged or detained," he added.
"There was no suggestion he had a weapon. Of course, the ticket officer wasn't to know that, but it seems these were words alone."
Jones, handed a suspended prison sentence in September for similar offences including threatening to carry out violence and criminal damage, was fined £250 and ordered to pay £200 to his victim, as well costs and a statutory victim surcharge.
Last month, Greater Anglia announced it was rolling out badges with built-in cameras for ticket inspectors, in response to an average of eight on board staff being assaulted every month.