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Dangerous driver convicted after abandoning stolen Land Rover on railway tracks – Cheshunt

|News, Driving offences

A man has been convicted after escaping from the police and abandoning a Land Rover on railway tracks.

In July last year, 35-year-old Kieron Francis was stopped by the police who suspected he was driving a stolen car. When asked to open the door of the Land Rover, he attempted to restart the engine and assaulted one of the officers. 

Francis drove towards the railway crossing near Cheshunt train station, driving through a barrier onto the railway track and abandoning the car there. An approaching train had to be halted, leading to over eight hours of delays on the line. No passengers were injured. 

Francis was arrested two weeks later and charged with several offences. Ahead of trial, he pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified, destroying and damaging property and assaulting the police officer. 

During the trial, he pleaded guilty to two additional charges of doing an unlawful act on a railway line thereby endangering a person. However, he maintained that he did not intend to endanger rail users when he drove along the railway line and abandoned the car on it. 

The Crown Prosecution Service made the case that when Francis drove onto the train tracks he did so with the deliberate intention of endangering lives.  

On 16 August 2022 a jury found Francis guilty of doing an unlawful act on a railway with intent to endanger a person, and obstruction of a railway line with intent to endanger a person. He was found not guilty of stealing the car.

Senior Crown Prosecutor Dean Price said: “Not only did Kieron Francis cause substantial damage to private property and £47,000 worth of delays to Network Rail, he also knowingly and deliberately put lives at risk through his dangerous actions. 

“Francis refused to plead guilty to the more severe charges he faced, but the strength of the evidence we presented in court helped secure his conviction. 

“We hope today’s verdict brings a sense of justice to the police officer this man assaulted, and to all the railway passengers affected by Francis’ actions.” 

Land Rover drives through level crossing barriers
CCTV shows the moment the Land Rover crashes through the Cheshunt level crossing barriers. 
Land Rover abandoned on train tracks
The car was abandoned on the train tracks.

Notes to editors

  • Kieron Francis (D.O.B. 20.11.1986) was convicted of doing an unlawful act on a railway with intent to endanger a person and obstruction of a railway line with intent to endanger a person at St Albans Crown Court on 16 August 2022. He was found not guilty of theft. He will be sentenced at a later date. 
  • Francis pleaded guilty ahead of trial to one count of assault on emergency worker, one count of driving while disqualified, one count of dangerous driving, one count of destroying property, and one count of damaging property.
  • He pleaded guilty during the trial to two counts of doing an unlawful act on a railway thereby endangering a person. 
  • Dean Price is a Senior Crown Prosecutor for the CPS Thames and Chiltern. 

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