Orient Express treat goes off the rails

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TO THE LITANY of crime committed on the Orient Express, now add assault, drunk in charge of a champagne glass and possession of an offensive boyfriend, writes Rhys Williams.

What had started out as a romantic trip through the Garden of England on Valentine's Day turned into a running fight in the restaurant car, with more champagne flutes and punches flying than in the January sales.

The trouble began when Leila Parker and John Page, immersed in their umpteenth glass of champagne, started bickering. Page thought a neighbouring couple on the Pullman coach were having a joke at their expense.

Incensed at this apparent lack of sensitivity, he stormed over to the table where Trevor Kidd was enjoying lunch with his wife, and attacked him. He was restrained only after kicking another passenger in the face.

Andrew Rutter, for the defence, told Horseferry Road magistrates' court in London: 'There was free champagne all day and both Mr Page and his girlfriend consumed far too much. It was a day which started out as a treat for Mr Page's girlfriend, but unfortunately it ended somewhat disastrously.'

Page, 29, from Lewisham, south-east London, was fined pounds 100 for assaulting Mr Kidd, 38, and Eric Burton, 51. He was also ordered to pay pounds 75 to both victims.