Page last updated at 20:27 GMT, Monday, 22 February 2010

Kent commuter 'pushed on to railway track'

Linda Buchanan
Linda Buchanan was travelling from Farningham Road station to London

A carpenter pushed a woman off a station platform and on to a rail track after a row about him smoking, a court has heard.

Ionel Rapisca, 33, is accused of pushing Linda Buchanan, 59, at Kent's Farningham Road station in August 2008.

The management consultant landed near a live line carrying 750 volts, Maidstone Crown Court was told.

Mr Rapisca, of Joyce Green Lane, Dartford, denies grievous bodily harm with intent.

He also denies two alternative charges of grievous bodily harm and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The jury was told Ms Buchanan warned Mr Rapisca about smoking at the station, telling him: "I don't like the smell of cancer."

The following day, on 6 August 2008, she came across him again while waiting to catch a rush-hour train to her London offices.

Ionel Rapisca
Ionel Rapisca denies grievous bodily harm with intent

Prosecutor John O'Higgins told the jury: "What happened at that moment, without warning as she was standing with her back to the track, this defendant, with both his hands, pushed her hard backwards in the direction of the track.

"The push forced her to take a step back and on the second step she fell backwards on to the track."

Mr Rapisca then jumped down and dragged Ms Buchanan back to the platform before running away, it is alleged. Five days later, he was arrested at his home.

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

The court heard Mr Rapisca declined to speak in police interview, but Mr O'Higgins outlined his defence case to the jury.

He said Mr Rapisca accepted he pushed Ms Buchanan after she wagged a finger in his face but claimed there was insufficient force to cause her to fall.

The trial continues.

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