Drunk passenger brought Metro to a standstill

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A DRUNK passenger brought a Metro to a stop after hitting an emergency button.

The train ground to a halt near Millfield station in Sunderland after Steven Tumilty pressed the switch.

Tumilty, 21, ran off, and later claimed he had suffered a panic attack.

He was also spotted on CCTV earlier that evening, vandalising a Metro station.

He pleaded guilty to criminal damage and interfering with railway equipment, at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.

Paul Anderson, prosecuting, said Tumilty was seen scratching words into a fascia on the southbound platform at Pallion Metro station, on June 3.

Just before 11pm, he got on to the rear carriage of a train and pressed the emergency button as it approached Millfield.

Tumilty, of Hylton Street in Sunderland, was arrested after being identified from CCTV footage.

Mr Anderson said: “He told the police it was drunkenness and daftness and he needed to get off the train, as he was suffering a panic attack.

“He understands he shouldn’t have done it, unless it was an absolute emergency. He also accepts it was him on CCTV, scratching the fascia panel.”

Jason Smith, defending, said unemployed Tumilty suffered from mental health issues and would go on short drinking binges.

Magistrates ordered him to pay £274 compensation for the criminal damage, a £20 victim surcharge, £40 towards court costs and fined him £35.

Chairman of the bench John Scott warned him: “It is a track brake and brings the Metro to a standing stop. If someone was standing up, they could have fallen over.”

Speaking after the hearing, Sharon Kelly, director of customer services and operations at Tyne and Wear Metro, said: “The prosecution of this passenger for misusing the emergency brake reinforces just how seriously we consider the safety of our passengers.

“This gives a clear message that we will prosecute anyone who jeopardises safety on board Metro trains.”