Tube pusher victim feels guilty for not stopping attacker from striking again
A man who avoided being hit by a tube train by just inches when a paranoid schizophrenic tried to shove him onto the tracks has described his “incredible sense of guilt” when he heard his attacker had struck again.
Tobias French was making his way home when Paul Crossley, 47, tried to push him onto the rails at Tottenham Court Road station on April 27 last year.
Mr French managed to fight Crossley off – prompting the attacker to flee the scene on the next Central Line train.
Just moments later, Crossley shoved 91-year-old Sir Robert Malpas onto the rails at Marble Arch.
Sir Robert, who was heading to Oxford Circus after a pensioners’ lunch, was rescued by teacher Riyad El Hussani, who leapt from the platform just one minute before the next train was due to arrive.
The industrialist, who was knighted by the Queen in 1998, suffered a broken pelvis and a cut to the head which needed 12 stitches.
Crossley, who has paranoid schizophrenia, was chased and detained by members of the public.
He is due to be sentenced for two counts of attempted murder at the Old Bailey on Wednesday.
Speaking to the BBC, Mr French said: “I was on my way home. I’d just missed the train before and I was just waiting on the platform – I just felt two hands on my back as someone pushed me towards the tracks.
“I turned around and he tried to push me again so I just pushed him to the floor and by the time I came to really after shock he was already on the tube going the other way.”
He continued: “When I heard he had attacked a second person, incredible guilt set in, because I had the opportunity to stop him at the time.”
He added: “I do think I should have stopped him or done more.”
Describing Crossley’s trial, he said: “I got to see the CCTV for the first time in the court room.
“Watching my family react was very haunting for me and it really nailed home how serious and how dangerous the situation was and how close I was to being pushed in front of that train.”
He added: “One message I would send to everyone else is just make sure you are aware of what’s going on around you and not be looking at your phones when you’re on the edge of the platform.”
The British Transport Police said: “We could easily have been dealing with a double murder investigation had it not been for the brave actions of the public who stepped in.”
Crossley, of Leyton, east London, said at the trial he picked his victims at random and did not mean to kill them.
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.
Jurors rejected his defence and found him guilty of two charges of attempted murder.