Year's jail for train driver who abandoned travellers

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A train driver was jailed for a year yesterday for abandoning passengers on an express after he drew to a halt outside a station and walked off.

The 22.02 Victoria to Brighton main line service was marooned short of Preston Park station in East Sussex, Lewes Crown Court was told. The guard said that he had seen the driver standing on the platform, and then walking away. An off-duty driver who was travelling home was given permission to draw the train into the station to allow passengers to disembark.

Peter Rayment, 42, of Brighton, pleaded guilty to endangering the safety of passengers on the service in December last year.

The court was told Rayment became haunted by fears of being killed by an oncoming train after the train crash in Cowden, Kent, last October, which claimed the lives of five people, some of whom he had known.

Judge John Gower told Rayment: "Arguably you shouldn't have been driving the train at all because of your state of mind". But, he said: "the offence committed was endangering safety of persons on the train by neglect. Your conduct was thoroughly irresponsible . . . This offence was so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified".

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