Rail alert man jailed - Bedford

24/07/2013

A man who caused chaos at a railway station was jailed for 5 years today. Bedford railway station was evacuated and trains were stopped when the drunk man, high on amphetamine, arrived with two home-made parcels and two knives.

Shaun Thomas, 41, had earlier set fire to his flat in the town before going out drinking, Luton Crown Court heard today, Wednesday, 24 July 2013.

Claudette Elliott prosecuting for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said he arrived at the station at five to four in the afternoon on 12 December last year. He was carrying a walking stick that contained a concealed blade, a knife, and had two packages close to his body.

He told a ticket collector to open a gate to let him on the platform. When the guard asked if he had a ticket Thomas went to the ticket booth and placed the two packets on the counter.

After paying for a ticket he got on a First Capital Connect Train. There was a confrontation with two girls on the train, which was stopped and evacuated.

The police had been called by the guard and officers confronted Thomas on the train. When he was asked what was in his packages he replied: "Gun Powder - I was going to put it down the train driver's pants and then I was going to blow him up."

Mrs Elliott said Thomas was under the influence of drink and amphetamine. The packages were analysed and found to contain a dieting supplement called Selivo and were not viable as explosives.

At around half past eight that morning Thomas set fire to an armchair in his Pilgrim Housing Association ground floor flat in Dunham Close, Bedford.

He shouted to his neighbours: "Get out and get all your precious things out, because the block is going up."

Fire fighters were called and stopped the blaze spreading. There was £2,788 smoke and fire damage to the lounge and kitchen.

Thomas, who has a distinctive tattoo on the right side of his face, guilty to arson, two charges of having an article with a blade, and causing a public nuisance. A bomb hoax charge was not proceeded with.

He had 31 previous convictions for 78 offences going back to when he was a teenager. These included robbery and possessing a shortened shot gun.

Thomas Nicholson-Pratt, defending, said: "He has no recollection of setting fire to the armchair. It was not his intention to cause disruption at the station and he does not remember putting the packages together. He was heavily intoxicated."

He said 2012 had been a bad year for Thomas. His mother had been in ill health, his partner had M.S and just before he caused the alert a family member had been the victim of a sex attack. Although the police investigated, nobody was arrested or charged.

Judge Stuart Bridge jailed Thomas for 5 years.

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