Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Train Chants Led to Fights; Five End Up in Court for Roles in Violent Journey

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Train Chants Led to Fights; Five End Up in Court for Roles in Violent Journey

Article excerpt


A TRAIN "exploded" into violence after abusive chanting about former Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson.

Fists flew on the last train from Newcastle to Middlesbrough in a scene of "absolute confusion" involving up to 12 people.

Five tanked-up revellers ended up in the dock at Teesside Crown Court for their parts in the melee.

Passengers had been chanting about ex-Sunderland winger Adam Johnson, weeks before he stood trial for child sex offences which later saw him jailed for six years.

British Transport Police officers got on the 9.30pm train on February 13 over concerns that there might be trouble in the "intimidating atmosphere".

But the officers left, the chanting and shouting resumed and the rowdiness descended into violence. "Several fights broke out," said prosecutor Jenny Haigh.

Four men and one woman - Andrew Jacques, 29, Christopher O'Brien, 34, Craig Rogan, 29, Anthony Sanderson, 28, and Elizabeth Cranney, 37 - faced sentencing.

One of the chanters, Jacques, was seen throwing punches.

A man was attacked in his seat by a group including Rogan and suffered two black eyes, while Cranney fought with another woman on the floor, pulling her hair.

She said she got into a "tussle", telling police: "The train exploded and there was fighting everywhere."

Sanderson told officers: "It takes two to tango. That's how it works. They hit me in the mouth. I hit them back." He confessed he had taken cocaine and "helped his mates out by throwing punches".

Jacques said he was remorseful. The lone conductor, who called 999, prompting police to board at Hartlepool and break up the fracas, said she felt shaken and upset, could not sleep and had headaches.

One passenger vowed never to travel on the train again.

Cranney, of St Cuthbert Street; Jacques, of Fernwood; O'Brien, of Cresswell Drive; Rogan, of Brunel Close; and Sanderson, of Suffolk Close, all Hartlepool, admitted affray.

They had few or no previous convictions and were all said to be otherwise hard-working, respectable people who expressed shame, remorse and embarrassment. …

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