A MAN who attacked a ticket inspector with a chemical has been banned from Huntingdon station.
Michael Murphy, 67, was travelling back to his home in Cricklewood, London, after meeting friends for a drink on April 13 when he boarded a First Capital Connect train instead of an East Coast service, for which he had a ticket.
Huntingdon Crown Court heard that Murphy, on recognising his mistake, got off the train at Huntingdon and tried to pass through the ticket barrier.
Richard Craig, a ticket inspector at the station, spotted Murphy and allowed him out of the station, without being fined, to get a taxi or bus back to Peterborough.
But the court was told that Murphy started to verbally abuse Mr Craig and one of his colleagues.
He left the station and staff members believed he had got into a taxi, but he returned about an hour later – at 7pm – and continued to verbally abuse Mr Craig.
Station staff called British Transport Police and Murphy left again, but 15 minutes later he returned again with what looked to be a pen. He then squirted a liquid at Mr Craig which went in his eyes and throat causing “immediate pain and stinging”.
In an interview, Murphy said the liquid, which was later revealed as ammonia, was given to him by a friend to scare off foxes back in London, and that he meant to “mark the inspector’s back to teach him a lesson”.
In mitigation, Judge Patrick Moloney was told Murphy had worked hard all of his life and had raised between £40,000-£50,000 for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.
In court on June 13, Murphy admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Yesterday (Tuesday) he was given a four-month sentence suspended for 12 months.
He was also banned from entering Huntingdon and Peterborough stations and from carrying ammonia or any similar noxious substances.
Detective Constable Sarah Trotter, of BTP’s criminal investigation department, said: “Murphy unleashed a tirade of abuse at members of rail staff who were simply doing their job.
“He was travelling with an invalid ticket and the inspector, using discretion, went out of his way to help him. Instead, the victim was subjected to a vicious assault, which could have been much worse.”