Man walked in front of passenger train ‘to get himself sectioned’

Court news.
Court news.

A train driver hit emergency brakes when a man walked along the track at Boston’s Red Cap Lane crossing, a court has been told.

Daniel Hopps, 32, was spotted on the railway lines at 1.45pm on December 12 by an East Midlands Trains driver, whose train was approaching the crossing at about 30mph.

Paul Wood, prosecuting, said the driver – a Mr Partridge – saw Hopps ‘walking within the track’ and applied his emergency brakes, stopping the Skegness-Nottingham passenger train.

The court was told Hopps walked past the driver’s cab – eventually sitting on the ground at the rear of the train - and the driver had to wait 20 minutes for police to arrive.

Mr Wood said police had the impression Hopps ‘was under the influence of something’, and hospital doctors put his behaviour down to heroin, which Hopps took immediately before the incident.

Hopps had initially said ‘I was just going to kill myself mate’, but then explained he wanted to ‘get on the ward’ because he couldn’t cope with the cold at his home in King Street, Boston.

Mr Wood said there didn’t appear to be a settled decision to take his own life - more an effort to draw attention to his plight. He said the incident caused an 80-minute delay on the network and meant a £542 loss for East Midlands Trains.

Hopps pleaded guilty to obstructing an engine by walking on the track and Boston magistrates last Monday adjourned the case to March 3 for a pre-sentence report.

Solicitor Beris Brickles, mitigating, said Hopps has schizophrenia, a personality disorder and ADHD but gets only 30 minutes’ weekly help from mental health nurses.

He said: “He needs to be more micro-managed than perhaps he is. He falls in the gap between being sectioned permanently and not.”

Mr Brickles said Hopps has a heroin addiction and gets help from agency, Dart, and a methadone prescription.

The offence happened when Hopps could not pay his bills, running out of money for food and heating.

Mr Brickles said: “He decided he wanted to get some help from the doctors. He went onto the railway line in the hope it would attract attention to him and lead to him being sectioned under the Mental Health Act.”