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Tube pusher's victim 'incredibly guilty' he didn't prevent second attack on former Eurotunnel boss, 91

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 19/06/2019 Tristan Kirk
a blurry image of a person © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

A tube passenger pushed by a stranger towards an oncoming train in an attempted murder said he is wracked with “incredible guilt” that he could not stop the attacker shoving a second man onto the tracks.

Tobias French was targeted by Paul Crossley, 47, as he waited on the platform at Tottenham Court Road, and narrowly avoided going over the edge as the train came into the station.

Crossley, a paranoid schizophrenic, hopped onto another train moments after carrying out the attack and within minutes had pushed former Eurotunnel chairman Sir Robert Malpas onto the tracks at Marble Arch. 

The 91-year-old retired industrialist suffered a head injury and fractured hip in the fall, but was rescued by a teacher who dragged him to safety before a train arrived.

As Crossley was being sentenced today for two charges of attempted murder, Mr French said he remained haunted by the incident on April 27 last year, but vowed not to let it change his life.

“I just felt two hands on my back as someone pushed me towards the tracks,” he told the BBC, describing the attack. “I turned around, he tried to push me again so I pushed him to the floor. And by the time I came to, really, after shock, he was already on a Tube going the other way.

a man wearing a red shirt: “Haunted”: Tobias French was about to get the Tube home when a stranger attempted to push him into the path of an oncoming train (Elliot Wagland) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited “Haunted”: Tobias French was about to get the Tube home when a stranger attempted to push him into the path of an oncoming train (Elliot Wagland) “When I got the news that he attacked a second person, incredible guilt set in because I had the opportunity to stop him at the time. And that still does follow across every time I think about it. I do think that I should have stopped him or done more.”

The professional sportsman, from Bracknell in Berkshire, said he first saw CCTV of the incident at Crossley’s trial, and his family’s reaction to the footage was “very haunting for me”. 

“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 said.

a blurry image of a person: Sir Robert Malpas was thrown on to the tracks after being pushed by Paul Crossley (British Transport Police) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited Sir Robert Malpas was thrown on to the tracks after being pushed by Paul Crossley (British Transport Police) “I’ve travelled in London thousands of times, probably, and I wouldn’t let it affect me otherwise. This is one isolated incident and I don’t expect my life to change from it.

“One message I would send to everyone else: just make sure you are aware of what’s going on around you and not be looking at your phones when you are on the edge of the platform.” Mr French is a professional volleyball player and a member of the England men’s team.

The trial heard that Mr French’s sports background had enabled him to keep his balance on the platform.

Crossley, from Leyton, denied two attempted murder charges but was convicted by an Old Bailey jury.

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