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More than 100 Southeastern trains delayed by drunk man on railway lines at Herne Bay Station

A man risked his life by lying on live railway lines to evade police - causing disruption to more than 100 trains.

Robert Muttock forced swathes of the Southeastern network to be shut down for almost three hours when he refused to get off the tracks at Herne Bay Station.

Robert Muttock has been jailed for 14 months. Picture: British Transport Police
Robert Muttock has been jailed for 14 months. Picture: British Transport Police

The drunk 28-year-old's escapades cost Network Rail £55,165 before British Transport Police officers arrested him.

When cautioned he said:"**** the trains - they can stop for me."

Muttock was jailed at Canterbury Crown Court for 14 months after pleading guilty to trespassing and obstructing a railway at a previous hearing.

Prosecutors explained Muttock was horizontal on the line for 40 minutes, in the rain, before the power grid was cut and services halted.

Barrister Jan Hayne explained: "Police received information that property was being interfered with at Herne Bay Station.

Muttock lay down on the railway tracks at Herne Bay Station
Muttock lay down on the railway tracks at Herne Bay Station

"They saw this defendant had passed trackside. He had gone past the trespass signs and he lay down on the tracks for about 40 minutes.

"Police didn't try to remove him - it was raining and he was in a very dangerous position. He was by the live rail."

Muttock eventually began walking along the line in the Westgate direction when officers ordered Network Rail to cut the power and pursued him.

"The defendant then began to throw stones - he was, however, detained and arrested," she continued.

The saga, on the afternoon of August 14, caused four trains to be cancelled, seven to be partly-cancelled, 48 to be diverted and also delayed another 53.

The 172 minutes of travel chaos affected thousands of passengers, the barrister added.

Police were called to Herne Bay Station
Police were called to Herne Bay Station

The court heard Muttock was on prison license after recently being released for robbery at the time he committed the crime.

Judge James O'Mahony told Muttock, who appeared via videolink from HMP Elmley: "You were intoxicated with drink, drugs, or both. You acted for wholly selfish reasons.

"You placed yourself on the railway tracks which were live and you refused to get off - the whole system had to be shut down in the end.

"When police were able to get on the lines you walked away meaning they had to come after you, and then you threw stones at them."

The judge emphasised the "long, long delays" caused to passengers and "huge cost to Network Rail" as aggravating features.

"Your motivation was wholly selfish and very dangerous behaviour," he added.

But the judge emphasised Muttock presented as a polite and respectful man - a sentiment echoed by the defence.

Barrister Simon Taylor explained there "was hope" for his client, who came from a volatile childhood and life afflicted by drink and drugs.

He added Muttock, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at an early opportunity in the Magistrates' Court and had shown remorse.

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