‘Roid rage’ man fights cops for 20 minutes and dislocates officer’s shoulder after being caught traveling without a ticket
A passenger who was caught traveling without a ticket has been jailed for a violent disturbance that saw him abuse, threaten and grapple with police officers who were forced to put a balaclava over his head.
As fellow passengers watched, Jack Harris fought with officers in High Street station in Swansea for around 20 minutes during which time one of the officers suffered a dislocated shoulder. The defendant repeatedly threatened to kill police, challenged them to a fight and warned them that he was “juicy” and “tasty” after taking steroids. Sending him to jail, a judge said his behavior had all the hallmarks of what was colloquially known as “‘roid rage”.
Swansea Crown Court heard Harris, 29, moved to Swansea after people where he lived discovered he was a sex offender.
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Craig Jones, prosecuting, said the incident happened on October 4 last year and began with a ticket check on the 11.48am train from London to Swansea as the service approached the station from Bristol Parkway. He said the train manager approached Harris, who was standing in the vestibule at the end of a carriage, and asked for his ticket. The defendant said he had just come home from work and was “soaked” and his ticket had been destroyed. When asked for identification so that a penalty notice could be issued, he became loud and aggressive, then began following the conductor through the cars. The guard formed the opinion that he was under the influence of substances.
The court heard there had been a change of conductors at Bristol and the platform supervisor was told what was happening. Due to Harris’ behavior a phone call was made to Swansea station to alert them to what was heading their way.
The prosecutor said Harris – who was identifiable by his high-visibility top – was then stopped at the barriers at Swansea station and questioned about his journey and ticket. The accused initially said he left the ticket on the train and began protesting to the police officers present that the train tickets were a civil matter and they had no power. When asked about his previous conduct on the train, Harris gave a false name – that of Sam Jameson – but then proceeded to insult the officers and threatened to throw one on the tracks. The court heard he had been warned about his behavior but again insisted the police had no right to deal with him, and he unleashed a torrent of abuse.
Harris was subdued and taken to the ground, and it was to be the start of a violent 20-minute disturbance in front of shocked passengers in which he threatened to slit an officer’s throat, bite the nose of a officer and to make rude sexual suggestions on the mother of one. During the struggle, he also made fun of an officer’s shoes, repeatedly told police they were abusing their power, and told them they owed him a packet of crisps which he had dropped out. When he started to clear his throat as if to start spitting, a hood was placed over his head.
Mr Jones said as Harris was taken to the waiting police van to be transported to Swansea Central Police Station, he told officers he was ‘juicy’ and ‘tasty’ as he had taken steroids. He then gave an interview largely without comment. Read the story of a father who “used his car as a weapon” and deliberately drove towards a man he believed had abused his daughter.
The court heard that during the struggle at the station, one officer dislocated his shoulder and another suffered from shoulder pain, while one officer’s wristwatch was smashed.
Jack Harris, of Grafog Street, Port Tennant, Swansea, had previously pleaded guilty to affray, breach of public order, criminal damage, resisting a police officer and escaping a train ticket when presented himself in the dock to be condemned.
The court heard he had numerous convictions for violence, including assaulting police, robbery, disturbing public order and having sex with a girl. At the time of the station disruption, he was facing a suspended sentence for breaching notification requirements as a sex offender.
Stephen Rees, for Harris, said it was accepted that a response to the accused’s supervision report raised questions about his client’s attitude – particularly when challenged – and that, of by his own admission, Harris had “the right”. He said the defendant was forced to move house five times after neighbors found out about his history of sex offenses before he moved to Swansea and got work. The attorney said Harris was not drunk or on drugs on the afternoon in question, but said his steroid use may have exacerbated his mood control issues.
Judge Paul Thomas QC said Harris’ conduct at the station had all the hallmarks of what was colloquially known as “‘roid rage'”, and he said the defendant acted in an “aggressive, confrontational , violent and totally unwarranted”. The judge said that, despite what Harris might have thought, the officers had simply done their duty, and he advised him to find out about the powers of the police before deciding to “dispute the draw” with the police again.
With a 20% reduction for his guilty pleas, Harris was sentenced to 10 months in prison comprising 10 months for the fight, and one month each for the public order offence, criminal damage and resisting a officer throughout the race. No separate penalty was imposed for evading a train ticket. The judge also activated six months of the suspended sentence previously imposed for failing to comply with sexual notification requirements to run consecutively to the sentence for the station’s offenses, for an aggregate sentence of 16 months. Harris will serve up to half of the 16 months in prison before being released on license to serve the remainder in the community.
Speaking after the sentencing, a British Transport Police spokeswoman said: ‘The length of this sentence reflects Harris’ threatening and abusive behavior which will not be tolerated on the network under any circumstances. feel concerned about their safety while traveling on the railway, especially someone who is simply doing their job.
“Remember, you can report any crime discreetly using our SMS number 61016. In an emergency, dial 999.”
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