Football thug who pushed Polish man on to live Tube tracks jailed for 10 years

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An England football thug has been jailed for 10 years for pushing a Polish builder on to live Tube tracks 34 seconds before a train arrived.

Christopher Cole, 32, was angry at Russian fans' behaviour during Euro 2016 and did not want England to be seen as "wooses", a court heard.

He got drunk and picked an argument with David Pietraskzek, 21, on a Central Line train after mistaking him as Russian on June 9 last year.

When they arrived at Bond Street Station, Cole followed him on to the Jubilee Line platform and shoved him on to the live rail.

The victim was badly bruised but managed to leap out of the way just seconds ahead of an oncoming train.

The whole incident was caught on graphic CCTV and showed a crowd of shocked travellers immediately step in to help the young victim.

Cole pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent and appeared at the Old Bailey to be sentenced.

Prosecutor Deanna Heer said Cole had been drinking after work in the City earlier in the day.

The victim had been returning from work at a building site and had been sitting in a carriage wearing earphones when the trouble began.

When they got to Shepherd's Bush, the defendant appeared to be "shouting and behaving aggressively" towards other passengers and Mr Pietraskzek told him to calm down and go home.

In response, Cole adopted a boxer stance, forcing the victim to put him in a headlock as he continued to scream.

The court was shown CCTV of the pair making their way through the station, with Cole pretending to leave but then running down an ascending escalator to pursue the victim on to the platform.

Ms Heer said: "When Mr Pietraskzek turns away, the defendant follows him to the platform. While Mr Pietraskzek is waiting for a train, the defendant runs up to him, pushes him in the chest, causing him to fall back.

"The voltage is sufficient to cause a fatal shock. He clearly touched the rail and falls against it.

"What saved him was his footwear because he had rubber soles.

"Mr Pietraskzek says he landed on the rail, felt electricity coming through his body, he could hear a train approaching.

"He had the presence of mind to get back on the platform as quickly as possible."

The victim was taken to hospital suffering from a fractured finger, cuts and serious bruises on his back which at first were thought to be burns.

Cole ran off but was arrested last July. He admitted the incident in police interview but said he only meant to cause embarrassment for his "bruised ego".

He said he had drunk wine and three pints of beer after work before boarding the London Underground.

He said he was annoyed at Mr Pietraskzek's attitude, acting as if he "owned the Tube".

The defendant said he thought he was Russian and was upset about the Russian football fans in Euro 2016.

He said the English had a reputation for being "wooses" and went on to rant about the stabbing of someone wearing a poppy, the death of Fusilier Lee Rigby and the UK leaving the EU.

Cole, who has a string of convictions for violence, added that he "should not have tried to do the country's work".

In mitigation, Peter Spary disputed the prosecution claim it was racially motivated and said Cole attacked Mr Pietraskzek because his "manhood was dented".

Sentencing, Judge Richard Hone QC said: "What you did, as you can see on the CCTV, was really shocking.

"You must have foreseen and been determined to cause serious bodily harm.

"What you did that evening in a drunken state is a persistent series of acts because you pursued the innocent victim up and down the escalators.

"Your interview does you absolutely no credit at all and you appear to have been admitting you were acting in revenge or retribution in some absurd idea you were upholding the reputation of the country."

As he was sent down, the defendant made a hand gesture appearing to indicate he was blown away by the sentence and remarked to the judge "cheers".

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Langley, from the British Transport Police, said: "There is absolutely no reason why Cole unleashed such an attack against his victim, which could have easily killed him.

"Despite Cole running away from the scene, our team of detectives were able to track him down thanks to the extensive CCTV on the underground network. 

"As you would imagine, this has been an horrific experience for the victim. His life was in immediate danger when Cole pushed him onto the tracks and he was extremely lucky to have escaped without any permanent physical injury.

Siwan Hayward, TfL's head of transport policing, said: "This attack was truly shocking and dangerous and we have worked with the police to bring the perpetrator to justice."