Man who pushed Eurotunnel boss onto tracks as train approached is jailed

A man who took £600 worth of crack cocaine the day before he pushed the former boss of Eurotunnel onto live tube tracks has been jailed for life.

Paranoid schizophrenic Paul Crossley, 47, was found guilty of attempting to kill Sir Robert Malpas and another passenger, Tobias French.

CCTV footage – which drew gasps from the court's public gallery when it was played for the first time – shows Sir Robert being violently shoved from the platform and onto the rails as a train approaches.

The industrialist was rescued when teacher Riyad El Hussani leaped onto the tracks a minute before the train arrived, allowing the then 90-year-old to get away with broken pelvis and a cut to the head.

But Crossley was today sentenced to life in jail at the Old Bailey. He must serve a minimum of 12 years.

Sentencing, the Recorder of London, Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC said: "It was beyond doubt that you were reducing the efficacy of your medication because of the drugs you were taking.

"At trial you said that by April 2018 you were using crack cocaine.

"You said you were experiencing a bad comedown on the 27th.

"You said in evidence that taking crack cocaine can make your schizophrenia worse and that it was not a good idea for you to take it."

Previously at the hearing, the mental health of Crossley was put under the spotlight.

The paranoid schizophrenic from Leyton, east London, said he picked his victims at random and did not mean to kill them.

He also confessed to taking crack the day before the attack, which he carried out with the Pet Shop Boys song 'West End Girls' running through his head. 

Following her psychological evaluation of the guilty man, Dr Anneka John-Kamen told the court that Crossley was convinced he had to go to the West End of London after listening to the 1984 synth track.

When asked by police why he did it he said: "I had no sleep."

Benjamin Aina QC, prosecuting, argued that Crossley targeted Sir Robert because of his age.

"What he told the probation officer is that is that he targeted Sir Robert Malpas, the second victim, because he looked old and less likely to be able to withstand his attack," the lawyer said.

"And he agreed that the attack was deliberate, considerate and targeted behaviour."

Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC noted that Crossley had been threatened by drug dealers to whom he owed a large amount of money before the attack.

The court heard Crossley was given a 10-month suspended jail sentence last January for sexually assaulting a care worker in 2016 and racially abusing another female care worker for saying he should go to his probation service appointments.

He also received a two months suspended jail sentence for having a knife in a public place in September 2017.

Benjamin Aina QC, prosecuting, spoke of how close Crossley had been to pushing Mr French, 23, under the wheels of a train at Tottenham Court Road station.

"He pushed Tobias French towards the train tracks as a Central Line train was approaching," the lawyer said.

"The train was about 10 metres away.

"Mr French was fortunate in that he was able to resist.

"Mr Crossley then caught a train to Marble Arch station where he pushed Sir Robert Malpas on to the train tracks."

Mr French, a volleyball player, spoke of his great guilt at not stopping the attacker before he turned on Sir Robert.

Having just missed the train while on his way home, Mr French was waiting on the platform when he suddenly felt two hands on his back.

He turned to find Crossley pushing him towards the rails, prompting the England Volley Ball player to shove the attacker to the floor.

"By the time I came to really after shock he was already on the tube going the other way," he told the BBC.

"When I heard he had attacked a second person, incredible guilt set in, because I had the opportunity to stop him at the time. I do think I should have stopped him or done more."

In the court room Mr French was able to see the CCTV footage of the attacks for the first time.

"Watching my family react was very haunting for me and it really nailed home how serious and how dangerous the situation was and how close I was to being pushed in front of that train," he added.

"One message I would send to everyone else is just make sure you are aware of what's going on around you and not be looking at your phones when you're on the edge of the platform."

A British Transport Police spokesman said: "We could easily have been dealing with a double murder investigation had it not been for the brave actions of the public who stepped in."

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