Preston and Blackpool rail network suffered £19,000 delays as man climbed onto bridge at Layton

A man who climbed onto a railway bridge, bringing Lancashire’s rail network to a halt, has appeared in court.

Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 5:00 pm

Kevin Gould, 37, admits a charge of obstructing an engine by being on the wrong side of a railway bridge on August 26 - but the court was told he was suicidal at the time.

The incident cost the railway more than £19,000 in compensation.

Trains around Preston and the Fylde had to be brought to a halt for around 90 minutes, causing a total of 192 minutes of delay disruption to passengers.

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He added: “Thereafter they spent considerable time trying to locate him.

“He continued to contact police telling them to come and get him but when they were nearby he would evade them further.

“And so it was on that evening Mr Gould walked up onto the footbridge near Layton station, climbed onto the wall and was threatening to jump off in front of the next train that passed.

“BTP officers were deployed at 8.20pm. Officers spoke with him as he sat on the wall with one foot dangling either side of the bridge.

“All trains were placed on a full stop and arrangements were made to isolate an overhead cable dangling dangerously close to where his foot was.”

At 9.40pm, as he finally walked down the bridge steps, he slipped the negotiator’s grasp and ran off down the track towards Blackpool.

Officers chased down Mr Gould along the tracks and one officer had to deploy his Pava spray to subdue him.

The prosecutor added: “He had been on bridge for 90 minutes. That had a massive impact upon the rail system in that area.”

Tom Lord, defending, said at the time the defendant had broken up with his partner, faced homelessness and was in ‘acute difficulty’ which was the catalyst for the breakdown on this day.

Recorder Brown sentenced him to a curfew and a 40 day rehabilitation activity requirement.

She said the offence had crossed the custody threshold, but that the circumstances were unusual.

She added: “ Given the circumstances that existed in your life at this time, this was a cry for help, albeit a desperate one that caused a high cost to others and countless inconvenience.”