Doctor spared jail after Tube assault

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The Independent Online

A doctor who broke a Tube worker's nose after a row over train delays was spared jail on Thursday – because the NHS needs him.

John Nelson, 37, a consultant anaesthetist, head-butted Alan Deabill before kicking one of Mr Deabill's colleagues as they tried to grab him. He then tried to escape on a train.

Dr Nelson was ordered yesterday to pay fines, compensation and costs totalling £9,000.

The case follows an incident on the Northern Line on 24 June last year when Dr Nelson's train became held up. He became involved in arguments with a station attendant, a tube driver and three other members of staff outside Kennington station in south London.

Dr Nelson, of Kenwyn Road, Clapham, south London, had admitted common assault for slapping a station attendant, Stephen Lardner, in the face. But he denied assault causing actual bodily harm to Mr Deabill.

However, the jury convicted him of the charge yesterday.

In sentencing him, Judge Duncan Matheson QC said: "It's not in the public interest I should deprive the NHS ... of your skills as I surely would be doing if I sent you to prison."