December 11 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
An “attention seeking” tourist has been jailed today for paralysing the rail network and causing disruption to at least 40,000 passengers.
Mantas Badauskas was imprisoned for 16 months yesterday for a stand-off lasting nearly seven hours after he clambered on to a roof at Ipswich railway station.
The disorientated 26-year-old Lithuanian – who had only been in England for a week – said he had lost all his money and belongings, and was trying to get to Stansted when the incident occurred.
However, at his Ipswich Crown Court sentencing Judge John Devaux told him: “You have caused massive disruption to a large number of passengers, to many businesses, and to the train operator.
“It cost organisations and individuals a massive amount of money for which they can look for no compensation from you.
“Whatever you were attempting to achieve by going on to the roof your response to the situation in which you found yourself was wholly disproportionate to your predicament.”
Badauskas was told what he did was “absurd”.
The judge then added: “It was attention-seeking and it was utterly self-indulgent.”
Previously prosecutor Gareth Hughes said the incident began at 8.30am on July 17. Live 25,000 volt power lines had to be shut off due to their proximity.
Mr Hughes said although the cost of disruption had not been finalised it would be in excess of £1m. Four hours into the stand-off 40,000 passengers had been affected, as Badauskas refused to come down.
By the time he got down at around 3.10pm, 76 trains had been cancelled. Three more with 750 passengers on had been left stranded without power, air conditioning, or refreshments on a day when a heatwave warning had been issued by the Met Office.
Fifteen buses had to be used at a cost of £8,500 to ferry passengers and £340,000 was paid out for delays to freight services.
Badauskas got on the roof after being told he could not travel as he had no money for a ticket. He claimed he wanted a better view of his surroundings and then became afraid when he saw police.
Mr Hughes said officers were unable to go up on to the glass and asbestos canopy as they feared it was not strong enough.
A negotiator was brought in to try to talk Badauskas down and firefighters put a ladder up to the roof during the incident. However, the father-of-one pulled the ladder up on to the canopy and appeared to throw bolts in the direction of the negotiator.
When he did come down Badauskas spent four days in hospital due to the effects of dehydration.
The court heard Badauskas - who had consumed some alcohol and taken some cannabis - believed he thought Ipswich was a suburb of London.
Lynne Shirley, representing Badauskas, said: “He accepts his behaviour was deplorable while he was up there. He now understands the enormity of his actions.”