Dad-of-two jailed for 12 months after racially abusing a disabled train passenger at Preston station and punching police officers

A 39-year-old has been jailed for 12 months after unleashing a tirade of racial abuse at a severely disabled passenger on board a train at Preston station.

Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 2:56 pm
Alex Steventon, 39, has been jailed for 12 months after abusing a disabled train passenger and two carers at Preston railway station in August 2018. Pic: British Transport Police

Alex Steventon, 39, became enraged after being asked to move his luggage and pushchair from the disabled area of the train to accommodate a wheelchair user and two carers.

The severely disabled passenger and his carers were then subjected to a torrent of racist abuse from Mr Steventon.

Steventon, a dad-of-two from Carlisle, then attacked a number of police officers who later visited his home to investigate the incident.

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Steventon pleaded guilty to eight counts relating to the offences which occurred almost a month apart.

He was sentenced on Thursday, November 7 at Carlisle Crown Court to 12 months in jail and ordered to pay a £149 victim surcharge.

The court heard how on Friday, August 9, Steventon had been travelling with his partner and two young children, when he was asked to move from the disabled area of an Edinburgh-bound Virgin train service at Preston station.

A member of the train crew explained to Steventon that the space was needed to accommodate a severely disabled wheelchair user and his two carers.

After moving his luggage and a pushchair, Steventon then unleashed a tirade of foul mouthed abuse towards the two female carers, becoming increasingly aggressive and hurling racist abuse towards one of them.

When the train manager tried to intervene, an enraged Steventon lashed out and threatened to "smash his face in" and "put him through the window".

But Steventon’s violent and abusive outburst did not end there.

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Officers with British Transport Police visited Steventon at his Carlisle home to question him, after he twice failed to attend his local police station for voluntary interview.

But after answering the door, Steventon lashed out again and assaulted a number of officers. The court heard how Steventon punched one officer to the ground and began kicking him in the head.

In custody, Steventon continued to be violent, kicking a second British Transport Police officer and further assaulting a number of Cumbria police officers.

Sergeant Garry Ashbridge said: "These were appalling and completely out of control acts of aggression and Steventon’s substantial sentence reflects this.

"The incident that took place on the train was terrifying for the victims and other passengers.

"Any attack on members of the public, rail staff and police officers, whether verbal or physical is intolerable.

"Steventon’s complete disregard for his victims and the law, demonstrated by the violence he displayed when officers attempted to arrest him, is contemptible.

"British Transport Police is committed to ensuring that everyone has the right to be safe while using the railway and we will fully investigate any incident and ensure that perpetrators are brought before the courts."

David Whitehouse, safety and security director for Virgin Trains said: "Abusive behaviour has no place on the railway. We are 100% committed to working with British Transport Police and other industry partners to ensure those responsible for attacks and threats against our people and customers are pursued vigorously through the courts."