Drunk "tube shover" has jail time increased

9 October 2019, 21:36

By Maddie Goodfellow

A trainee accountant who drunkenly pushed a man onto the tracks at a London tube station has had his sentence raised by the Court of Appeal.

A man who pushed someone in front of a tube while drunk has had his jail time increased.

Mathuram Muthuraja, 23, shoved Harsha Jayasekera onto the tracks at Barons Court underground in Kensington, shortly before a train was due to pull in to the station.

Mr Jayasekera, 38, was pulled to safety by members of the public and avoided serious injury.

Muthuraja was originally jailed for three years at the Old Bailey in July after being convicted of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm.

Mathuram Muthuraja drunkenly pushed another man onto the tube tracks
Mathuram Muthuraja drunkenly pushed another man onto the tube tracks. Picture: PA

However, leading judges ruled the original term was "unduly lenient" and on Wednesday, his sentence was increased to five years at the Court of Appeal.

Lord Justice Holroyde said Muthuraja and his victim did not know each other but were at the same party on October 28 last year.

The group were bound for a Leicester Square nightclub, but changed their plans and got off the train at Barons Court, after Muthuraja behaved inappropriately to other passengers during the journey.

CCTV showed him being aggressive and needing to be restrained by other members of his group.

But he managed to run past them and push Mr Jayasekera, who was standing talking to his wife, off the platform.

The victim was knocked unconscious but did not make contact with the live track.

Mr Jayasekera was discharged from hospital the following day and suffered no lasting harm.

Muthuraja initially admitted a lesser assault charge, but was found guilty by a jury of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm.

The incident took place at Baron's Court tube station
The incident took place at Baron's Court tube station. Picture: PA

At the trial in July, Judge Heather Norton QC said there could have been "horrific" consequences and it was sheer "good fortune" Mr Jayasekera was not badly hurt.

The judge said being drunk was "no excuse" and that Muthuraja was not in such a state he did not know what he was doing.

Lord Justice Holroyde, sitting with Mr Justice Julian Knowles and Judge Nicholas Dean QC, now found that the original sentence was too short in the circumstances of the case.

He said: "The jury were satisfied that the offender intended to cause really serious harm.

"He intended to achieve that intent by pushing Mr Jayasekera on to the tracks of a busy underground station.

"As the judge noted, there was an obvious and high risk that Mr Jayasekera would come into contact with the live track or be struck by a train.

"In either of those circumstances, there was a very high risk that he would be seriously injured or killed."

Muthuraja's sentence was referred to the Court of Appeal by Solicitor General Michael Ellis QC under the unduly lenient sentence scheme.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Ellis said: "The aggressive and deliberate actions of the offender caused the victim pain and could have ended his life.

"With this in mind, it is right that the Court of Appeal lengthened the offender's sentence."