A DRUNKEN football yob, who pushed a policeman off a Wigan railway platform just seconds before a train arrived, has been jailed for two years.
A judge told 30-year-old James Pearson: “This is a very serious case and cannot be dealt with by a sentence other than immediate imprisonment.
“Fortunately, and it is no more than good fortune, the train was a little bit late. The consequences of your action if the train had been on time are dreadful to contemplate for the officer’s well-being and passengers on the train,” said Recorder Simon Medland. Liverpool Crown Court heard that Pearson deliberately pushed PC Andrew Taylor after he and other Manchester City FC fans had started chanting “push a copper on the track.”
One of Pearson’s friends was ejected from Wigan’s Wallgate station for the chanting and Pearson was annoyed and called the officer a “jobsworth.”
Meanwhile PC Taylor, who is 5ft 11ins and 17 stone, was standing on the platform with the 200 fans awaiting their train to Manchester Piccadilly after a match at Wigan Athletic’s ground, said Harry Pepper, prosecuting.
The officer, who had 15 years service, was on the platform facing the fans to keep them from the edge as the train was due.
“He was then pushed by the defendant with enough force for both feet to leave the ground simultaneously and he landed in the middle of the two tracks.
“He picked himself up disorientated and panicked as the train was due to arrive. He walked along the track for 20 metres and then managed to get back on the platform,” said Mr Pepper.
“The train arrived 20 seconds after he got clear of the track,” he added.
Meanwhile other officers saw Pearson running to the back of the crowd and was heard saying, “I’m going to get nicked”.
An officer grabbed hold of him and Pearson, who had drunk at least seven pints, shouted abuse at him being a Scouser. After he was detained he expressed his apologies to his victim, who was left covered in oil and dirt and had grazes and bruises.
Mr Pepper said that witnesses, including a woman with her four-year-old son, had been left shocked and upset at the incident.
Pearson, of Avril Close, Reddish, Stockport, pleaded guilty to doing an unlawful act on a railway with intent to endanger a person on September 19 last year. The court heard that the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.
William Swalwell, defending, said that Pearson, a qualified joiner, had not appeared in court for a decade and has no convictions for violence.
“He fully realises how dangerous it was and is deeply ashamed and apologised at the scene and the police station.”
“He is at a loss to explain why he did what he did but plainly he was very drunk at the time.”
Mr Swalwell added that Pearson has already been punished in that he was a Manchester City season ticket holder but this was rendered useless after the offence.
Recorder Medland made a six-year Football Banning Order which precludes him from attending matches and also bars him from travelling to places when Manchester City are playing there by train.
After the hearing Det Con Nikki McVey of the British Transport Police said: “BTP simply will not tolerate any behaviour which puts its officers, rail passengers or rail staff in harms way and will do everything in its power to seek the strictest sanctions against offenders.
“Pearson’s irresponsible behaviour put an officer’s life at risk and the sentence reflects the severity of the offence.
“The behaviour of this one man is not reflective of football fans in general who, in the main, are well behaved if sometimes a little over exuberant.
“When individuals step out of line or take things too far we will not hesitate to take action and will seek banning orders to prevent fans from attending future matches.”
Once released from prison Pearson will be banned from attending any organised football match in England or Wales until April 1 2017.