Father and daughter jailed for assaulting train passenger


A father and daughter have today been jailed to a total of 58 months’ imprisonment for their part in the attack of a commuter on train which left the victim with life threatening injuries.

A jury at Chester Crown Court heard how the 53-year-old victim had travelled from Crewe to Liverpool on 28 November 2014 with some friends for a social night out.

The victim and his friend then caught the 21:34 train from Liverpool Lime Street Station to Birmingham New Street, which would take the two of them back to Crewe.

Also on the train was 58-year-old Michael Friel and his 34-year-old daughter, Hayley Friel. 

As the train set off, Hayley Friel visited the toilet, which was located in the carriage where the victim and defendants were. She failed to lock the door from the inside and a fellow passenger pressed the toilet door button which opened the electronic door.

Her father became angry at this and began to demand, in an aggressive manner, who pressed the button. In order to calm the situation, the victim confessed to pressing the button, even though it was another passenger.

The defendants then proceeded to attack the victim, despite other passengers trying to restrain the two of them.

As the train pulled into Runcorn station, the train doors opened and the victim fell onto the platform unconscious. Two police officers at the station witnessed the attack and they immediately arrested the defendants.

The victim regained consciousness and was discharged from hospital, however, two days later, he fell unconscious at home and was eventually transferred to North Staffs Hospital were an emergency operation was carried out.

Michael Friel pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm and was sentenced to two years' imprisonment and Hayley Friel was found guilty to the same offence and she was sentenced to two years and four months.

Sarah Pedley, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said:

"This was an unprovoked and extremely brutal attack carried out by a father and daughter on a commuter who tried to prevent a hostile situation occurring.

"The victim became aware that Michael Friel was becoming very aggressive in trying to locate the person who had pressed the button, which opened the door while Hayley Friel was using the facility, and his fellow passengers where becoming concerned for their safety. He therefore took the blame for the act thinking that this would calm the defendant down.

"However, his kindheartedness resulted in the defendants assaulting the victim, which has now left him with life changing injuries."