Ex-Eurotunnel boss sobs as man who pushed him on to tracks guilty of murder bid
A former Eurotunnel boss sobbed in court as the man who pushed him on to the tracks of the London Underground was found guilty of attempted murder.
Sir Robert Malpas, 91, said he felt himself "flying" on to the rails at Marble Arch station, after Paul Crossley, 46, shoved him from behind with both hands.
CCTV footage of the attack drew gasps from the public gallery in the Old Bailey when it was played in court for the first time.
Sir Robert, who was knighted by the Queen in 1998, was rescued by heroic passer-by Riyad El Hussani, who leapt from the platform to save him as the electronic arrivals board showed just one minute until the next train.
But the retired industrialist was left with a fractured pelvis and a gash to the head requiring 12 stitches after the attack on April 27.
A second Tube passenger, Tobias French, managed to keep his balance when he was earlier pushed by Crossley as a train pulled in to Tottenham Court Road station.
Crossley told jurors his victims were chosen at random but claimed he had not intended to kill them.
But he was found guilty of two counts of attempted murder on Friday.
The Recorder of London, Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC, adjourned sentencing for reports.
Sir Robert, who sat in the public gallery with his arms folded, showed no emotion as the verdicts were read out.
But he sobbed after the jury left the court, removing his glasses to wipe away tears.
Prosecutor Benjamin Aina QC said Sir Robert was "in a very bad way" following the attack, but added: "Fortunately he has recovered. He is able to walk and go about his normal affairs."
He said Tobias French had played professional sport, which had enabled him to keep his balance.
The judge said: "Mr El Hussani showed extraordinary bravery with a complete disregard for his own safety in saving Sir Robert and he is obviously to be commended for that."
In a statement read to jurors during the trial, Sir Robert said he had been to a pensioners' lunch in central London before using his freedom pass for his planned journey to Oxford Circus on the Central line.
CCTV footage shows him walking along the platform, wearing a brown Burberry raincoat, suit and tie, and carrying an umbrella.
He is then approached from behind by Crossley, who has a hood pulled over his cap, before being sent sprawling on to the tracks.
"As I was walking along the platform I felt a two-handed push to my back," said Sir Robert.
"I felt myself flying over the tracks and landing on the rails. I may have been concussed but only for a very short time. I banged my head on the rails."
He was rescued by French teacher Mr El Hussani, who had just finished work at the Dorchester Hotel in Mayfair.
He said he heard "screams and shouting" before running 20 metres to where Sir Robert lay with his clothes and umbrella covered in blood.
"I then jumped straight on to the tracks to save his life," he said in a statement on the day of the incident.
"I'm still in shock with what's happened. I also feel sad as I could have lost my life twice.
"I was scared that when I was on the tracks I could have been electrocuted and also could have then been hit by a train."
Mr El Hussani suffered burns to his right hand after touching the electrified rail.
Mr French told of his own lucky escape, having been pushed by Crossley as he waited for a train earlier the same day.
"I remember thinking I was very lucky to be alive," he said.
"There was a train coming in my direction at the time and if I had been pushed in front of it, I'm certain I would have been killed.
"I was fortunate I was quick to defend myself along with help from a member of the public."
Crossley, who was living in a homeless hostel in east London, was chased and detained by members of the public after he pushed Sir Robert.
He told them: "It's not right, I know it's wrong," before explaining to police officers: "I didn't get much sleep last night."
Crossley, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia when he was 17, admitted he was the man wearing a cap and hood caught on CCTV shoving both men.
He told jurors he had taken crack cocaine the previous day and began feeling paranoid as he made his way to the West End to get coffee.
Crossley claimed he had meant "to scare" Mr French who had "looked at me a bit funny", and said he was having a panic attack at the time he attacked Sir Robert, intending to "push him over on to the floor".
He denied two charges of attempted murder and an alternative count of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm to Mr French, but pleaded guilty to a wounding charge in relation to the attack on Sir Robert.
Speaking outside the Old Bailey, Detective Inspector Darren Gough, from British Transport Police said: "This was a most shocking incident and the victims in this case were extremely lucky to have survived.
"This could have easily been a double murder investigation and more victims had it not been for the brave actions of the travelling public who stepped in and restrained Crossley and assisted the victims.
"I would like to remind the public that this type of incident is very rare and millions of journeys are made across the Underground without incident."