Man fined after racially abusing train guard

A North Tyneside man who racially abused a train guard after refusing to pay his fare has been fined.

Sean Thomas McCurry, 39, of Harlow Avenue, Backworth, pleaded guilty to fare evasion and racially abusing the guard at Penrith station on Friday, January 12.

He was fined £160 by Carlisle magistrates and ordered to pay £115.90 in compensation, a victim surcharge of £30 and costs of £400.

The court heard how McCurry had boarded the late-running Trans Pennine service to Manchester Piccadilly at Penrith and sat in the first class carriage.

Shortly afterwards the guard began a routine ticket inspection. When he approached McCurry, he told him that he didn’t have a ticket and would not be buying one as the train was late. The guard repeatedly told him that he must buy a ticket but McCurry refused.

When McCurry left the train at Penrith, the guard told him that he would not be permitted to travel on any services he was working on in the future because he had refused to pay for his journey. McCurry responded with an expletive-filled racial slur.

The incident was reported to police and McCurry was arrested for fare evasion and a religiously-aggravated public order offence.

In police interview, McCurry boasted of his support for the British National Party and told of his hatred of Muslims.

Investigating officer PC Stuart Bingham said: “This was a loathsome verbal attack on someone who was just doing their job. Any abuse of this nature will not be tolerated whether directed at a member of the public or rail staff. Hate crime is not acceptable in any form.

“Despite everyone else on the service paying for a ticket, McCurry thought he was entitled to free travel – something he will now regret given he must fork out more than £700, a considerably larger sum than the original fare.”

Adam Swallow, British Transport Police liaison manager for TransPennine Express, said: “Any form of hate crime is totally unacceptable and instances of abuse towards our staff will not be tolerated. Everyone that travels by train should have a valid ticket or pass.

“We continue to work with the British Transport Police to ensure our colleagues and customers are safe and secure.”
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