Man handed suspended sentence over 'violent struggle' at Sheffield railway station that left police officer with fractured skull

A transport police officer was left with a fractured skull during a ‘violent struggle’ at Sheffield railway station with a 36-year-old man who ‘lost his temper’ during a ticket dispute.

Tuesday, 30th July 2019, 18:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st August 2019, 16:14 pm
Sheffield railway station.

The incident took place on July 7 last year, when Lee Gascoyne escorted his pregnant partner to Platform 2 of Sheffield railway station to catch the 5.29pm train out of the city.

Sheffield Crown Court was told how Gascoyne began to remonstrate with a train guard working for East Midlands Trains, after he informed him that his partner would need to print out the ticket she had bought online or buy a new ticket and claim the money back for the first one.

Richard Davies, prosecuting, said Gascoyne ‘became aggressive’ and subsequently told the guard he would ‘find out where he lives, come round and sort him out, and sort out his f****** kids’.

Gascoyne and his partner were stopped from leaving the train station by several officers from British Transport Police, who informed him they were going to arrest him on suspicion of threatening behaviour, the court heard.

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Describing the circumstances of the assault, Recorder Angela Frost said: “Their attempt to arrest you resulted in a violent struggle and tussle with several officers while they attempted to subdue and arrest you.”

She added: “During the course of the struggle, an officer, who at the time was behind you, was struck by one of your arms or fists in the course of trying to resist your arrest.”

The officer was knocked unconscious, after hitting his head on the concourse floor.

He was taken to hospital and was found to have suffered two fractures to his skull as well as loss of taste and smell.

In a statement read to the court, the officer said the injury resulted in him being off work for four months and said he has still not regained his sense of smell or taste some 12 months on.

“I have lost my sense of sense of taste and smell. I was told it would come back within three months, but 12 months later I still have no taste or smell...I have been told it may never come back now,” said the officer, adding that his loss of smell had left him concerned about whether he would be able to smell smoke in the event of a fire.

Gascoyne, of Meakin Street, Chesterfield pleaded guilty to threatening behaviour and grievous bodily harm (GBH) at an earlier hearing, on the basis that the GBH had been committed through ‘recklessness’ and that he had not intended to cause the injury to the police officer.

Brendan Carville, defending, said Gascoyne had ‘lost his temper’ on a hot summer’s day, after becoming ‘frustrated at technology, and anxious to get his eight months’ pregnant partner on the train’.

“There is genuine remorse, by way of his guilty plea,” said Mr Carville, adding that Gascoyne’s partner and one-year-old child would be affected should he receive an immediate custodial sentence.

Recorder Frost sentenced Gascoyne to 15 months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered him to complete 250 hours of unpaid work and pay £4,000 in compensation to the complainant.

She told him: “This wouldn’t have happened had you allowed them to arrest you. Take this chance Mr Gascoyne. This appears to have been out of character for you, and you know the consequences if it is not.”