RAF sergeant facing jail after breaking woman's back while sliding down Tube escalator handrail

Ruth Doherty
RAF officer breaks woman's back sliding down Tube escalator handrail
RAF officer breaks woman's back sliding down Tube escalator handrail



An RAF flight sergeant is facing jail after breaking a woman's back while sliding down a Tube escalator handrail in a prank that went wrong.

Frans Bekker, 50, from Cardiff, who has served in the RAF for 32 years, tried to slide down an escalator handrail at Holborn Tube station to prove he "could still move".

But the prank went wrong and he hit three women, one of which, Linda Soulsby, fractured a vertebra.

Bekker had been returning to Cardiff with his table-tennis team, following a match in London, at the time of the incident.

Miss Soulsby was forced to wear a brace and has been left with "an approximate 15 percent loss of vertebral body height", the jury heard at Westminster Magistrates Court.

RAF officer facing jail after breaking woman's back while sliding down Tube escalator handrail
RAF officer facing jail after breaking woman's back while sliding down Tube escalator handrail



According to the BBC, Jonathan Swain, prosecuting, said: "Mr Bekker had hopped backwards onto the handrail of the escalator."

He added it was just after this that he hit three women, adding: "They did not have a chance to brace themselves as they didn't see it coming."

Becker, who stayed at the scene until help arrived, admitted endangering the safety of a person conveyed by railway and will be sentenced on 5 May.

According to the Evening Standard, Christian Cormack, defending, said: "This was a prank that went wrong, in relation to Mr Bekker's involvement.

"He is a man who has for decades worked for the RAF. His commanding officer sits at the back of court. He is thought of very highly in the RAF. This is something which is hugely out of character."

He added: "He was mortified and has been since."



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