COUNTY NEWS: Sussex train shunter seriously injured after being over legal limit

A train depot worker suffered serious injuries after falling into the path of an oncoming train in Sussex following a weekend of drinking.

Scales of justice
Scales of justice

Adrian Hooper, 56, lost two fingers on his right hand as a result of the incident.

He spent four days in hospital in Brighton where blood samples were taken.

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It was discovered that he was more than five times over the prescribed blood alcohol limit.

Hooper, of Marley Gardens, Battle, appeared before Hastings magistrates in court on Friday (June 8) to be sentenced for one count of working on a railway in a capacity in which he could control or affect the movement of a vehicle after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion of it in his blood exceeded the prescribed limit.

The incident happened on February 13 this year just before midnight at the West Marina depot in St Leonards and Hooper, who worked as a shunter, pleaded guilty by post to the charge.

Prosecutor Jeremy King said: “While Mr Hooper was carrying out his duties he slipped over and fell into the path of an oncoming train.

“Due to the incident police were called and spoke to him, carrying out a breath test. He was taken to hospital in Brighton where blood samples were taken for analysis.

“He was found to be just under six times the legal limit.”

The court also heard from the probation service. Magistrates were told that Hooper had worked on the railways for 36 years.

His job was manoeuvring the trains into the depot ready to be cleaned.

The court heard Hooper had no idea he was over the limit and had been drinking over the previous weekend.

His father, who was disabled, had also died two weeks before the incident and Hooper had been in a low mood, magistrates were told.

The court also heard that Hooper was not driving nor controlling a train when the incident happened.

Mike Jones, defending, said: “This is a very sad case. Unfortunately he received a call from a doctor prior to this event informing him of the passing of his father.

“He took to the bottle at the weekend before this event. His job on the day was to observe a trainee. In real terms he himself would not have control over any moving object.

“Such was his disgust of learning he was over the limit he resigned from his position immediately.”

Magistrates fined Hooper £750, ordered he pay £85 in court costs and a £75 victim surcharge.