Beds, Herts & Bucks

Officer who 'sat on fare dodger' cleared of assault

Charlie Simkins Image copyright SOUTH BEDS NEWS AGENCY
Image caption Charlie Simkins had been swearing at train ticket inspectors prior to PC Schleich's intervention

A Royal Protection Unit police officer who sat on a fare dodger on board a train has been cleared of assault.

PC Mark Schleich, 51, had pushed abusive Charlie Simkins against a train window and sat on him, the court heard.

The 20-year-old had been swearing at train ticket inspectors before he tried to escape at Cheshunt in Hertfordshire on Sunday, 9 June 2013.

The jury at Luton Crown Court cleared PC Schleich of common assault and perverting the course of justice.

PC Schleich, from Church Langley, Essex, had been in plain clothes while on his way to work at Buckingham Palace when the ticket inspectors had asked him to help with an abusive passenger.

Image caption PC Mark Schleich had been on his way to Buckingham Palace

He said: "As I walked through I could hear a man shouting and swearing.

"I asked him to stop swearing at the ticket guy. He continued and I asked him again and said that people on the train wouldn't want to hear him swearing."

He said when Simkins suddenly got up to leave the train at Cheshunt, he had stopped him.

'Good character'

"I was asked to act and I did. Once he had made the decision to get up there was no time to react," he said.

Simkins had eventually been taken off the train at Seven Sisters Road

In a statement, PC Schleich had said he had taken action after Simkins assaulted him.

Simkins admitted fare dodging and giving false details, but denied assault.

Prosecutor Patricia May said PC Schleich had claimed Simkins had thrown a punch at him. But after looking at CCTV evidence, the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the assault charge and instead charged PC Schleich.

PC Schleich had told the court he felt the level of force used was "appropriate," but said his statement had not been perfect.

Recorder Ian Gatt QC said the officer's "good character and reputation" remained intact.

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