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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 December 2007, 17:44 GMT
Two jailed for train brick attack
Joseph Paxton
Joe Paxton was in hospital for five days
Two youths who dropped a lump of masonry from a bridge, shattering a windscreen and hitting a train driver, have been jailed.

Daniel Ratcliffe, 17, was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years and Kevin Clee, 19, jailed for six after they both admitted a charge of criminal damage.

The pair, both of Kidderminster, Worcs, dropped the 45lb (20kg) brickwork slab into a freight train's path in 2006.

Driver Joe Paxton, from Birmingham, was in hospital for five days afterwards.

Laughing and joking

Worcester Crown Court heard Ratcliffe, of Broad Street, and Clee, of Grasmere Close, were seen laughing and joking shortly after dropping the rock.

Mr Paxton's train was travelling at 50mph and was carrying 1,700 tonnes of steel when it was struck by the masonry close to Kidderminster Harriers' football ground on 17 December.

He was knocked unconscious but the train continued for three quarters of a mile, passing through Kidderminster station, until a safety mechanism brought it to a halt.

The masonry
The masonry smashed through the driver's windscreen
Sentencing them, Judge Alastair McCreath, said they did it for no other reason than their own amusement, where only a moment's thought would have told them how dangerous it was.

"Mr Paxton could have died and the fact the train went on for a significant distance could have disastrous consequences," he said.

'Bears no malice'

Prosecuting, Abigail Nixon told the court Mr Paxton, 57, from Perry Barr, may have to give up his job after 35 years of service, as he suffered a broken cheekbone, nose and eye socket, severe cuts and skin loss.

He had been driving from south Wales to the Round Oak steel terminal in Brierley Hill, West Midlands, when the masonry hit him.

She told the court he was still in a lot of pain, sometimes crawling around the floor in agony.

However, speaking outside the court Det Sgt Karolyn Pitham said Mr Paxton wanted to thank his attackers' families who assisted the inquiry.

"Joe is pleased with the result of the case today.

"He would like me to express that he bears no malice to the persons responsible and hopes they can use their sentence to reflect upon the consequences of their actions," she said.



SEE ALSO
Driver lost memory after attack
06 Feb 07 |  Hereford/Worcs
Appeal after train driver injured
25 Jan 07 |  Hereford/Worcs
Youths quizzed over train attack
02 Jan 07 |  Hereford/Worcs
Reward offered after driver hurt
21 Dec 06 |  Hereford/Worcs
Train driver critically injured
19 Dec 06 |  Hereford/Worcs

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