Wales

Tube prank man Frans Bekker must compensate injured victim

Frans Bekker Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Frans Bekker was 'mortified' by the incident, the court heard

An RAF flight sergeant who broke a Tube passenger's back after he tried to jump on to an escalator handrail has been ordered to pay £4,000 to his victim.

The prank at London's Holborn station came after Frans Bekker, from Cardiff, was "goaded" by his table tennis team-mates, Westminster magistrates heard.

But the 50-year-old lost control and ploughed into three women, including Linda Soulsby who fractured a vertebra.

Bekker admitted endangering the safety of a person conveyed by railway.

He was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work as well as paying compensation.

'Madness'

The court heard Bekker was "tramautised by the impact" on his victim.

Ms Soulsby, who is in her late 60s, was forced to wear a brace for months and her injury caused "an approximate 15 percent loss of vertebral body height".

In her victim impact statement, she said: "This accident has changed my life. I'm not the person I was. I'm lucky to be walking. A child or a weaker person could have been killed. I have no anger or bitterness.

"It was a stupid moment of madness that went terribly wrong."

Imposing a 12-month community order, chairman of the bench Roger Smith told Bekker: "Whether there was a moment of madness or anything more than that, this lady has had her life completely turned up side down."

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