Essex man jailed over fatal Benfleet rail cable theft bid

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A man has been jailed for 12 months over a failed cable theft in Essex which left a suspected accomplice dead.

Mark Bradshaw, 44, of West Crescent, Canvey, admitted causing danger to safety of persons on the railway and attempted theft.

Police, who were alerted to a power failure in Benfleet on 27 June 2012, found a man's body by a rail line.

It appeared the man was electrocuted while attempting to steal the overhead cable, the court heard.

Following the case at at Basildon Crown Court, District Crown Prosecutor Ian Elkins said: "This case has highlighted the dangers of tampering with electrical lines on the railway.

Danger to passengers

"It is distressing that a man was killed as a result of trying to steal overhead cable and Bradshaw was lucky to have escaped injury.

"Because of the serious nature of the offending and the potential danger caused to commuters, we felt it was in the public interest to prosecute.

"We advised that Bradshaw should be charged with endangering railway passengers or any other persons who might use or be on that track for any reason, by an unlawful act.

"This charge reflects the danger caused not only to passengers travelling on the railway but also to Bradshaw and the man who died.

"We also advised that Bradshaw be charged with attempting to steal electrical cable belonging to Network Rail, on the same date."

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