Man jailed for pushing woman on rail track

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A carpenter was jailed for four years today for pushing a woman on to a rail track in the morning rush-hour following a row about him smoking on the platform.

A judge told 33-year-old Ionel Rapisca that his actions could have killed Linda Buchanan as a fast train was due to pass through moments later.

The row was sparked after senior management consultant Miss Buchanan warned Rapisca against smoking at the station, telling him: "I don't like the smell of cancer."

The following day, August 6 2008, Miss Buchanan, 59, again came across 6ft 1in Rapisca as she waited to catch the 7.12am service from Farningham Road station in Kent to her offices in Mayfair, central London.

A trial at Maidstone Crown Court heard that Rapisca, accompanied by his brother-in-law, made an obscene noise with his mouth as 5ft 4in Miss Buchanan neared him on the platform.

He then deliberately pushed her on to the track with both his hands, causing her to land "dangerously" near a live line carrying 750 volts.

Miss Buchanan suffered a fractured wrist, severe bruising to her thigh and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the incident.

Following a review by her employer, Miss Buchanan was made redundant in 2008, which Judge Charles Macdonald QC linked to the stress disorder she suffered as a result of the fall.

Jailing Rapisca, the judge told him: "This was a very grave crime. You could easily have killed this victim.

"As it is, her career is over and she has an enduring psychiatric illness."

He added that he rejected Rapisca's claim that he was acting in self-defence and that the fall was an accident.

And the judge also cast doubt on his defence counsel's suggestion that he is now remorseful for his actions.

Judge Macdonald said Rapisca would serve half his sentence in prison and the remaining half on licence but would be liable for recall if he reoffends.

Following the case, Miss Buchanan, who was not in court, issued a statement saying she was "delighted" with the result and glad to gain closure.

She said: "My intention was only ever to politely explain to Mr Rapisca that it is against the law to smoke at this station and I remain incredibly shocked how this resulted in such an unprovoked attack of violence."