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Miracle escape on train line

'Nuisance neighbour' in miracle escape on train line

A WOMAN 'miraculously' survived as two high speed trains passed either side of her as she stood on the tracks at Teignmouth railway station, South Devon magistrates heard.

Alison Whelan, 50, of Woodside Close, Kingsbridge, had also been a nuisance neighbour the court heard.

She was told her behaviour had gone beyond the custody threshold. Her trespassing on the railway line had caused trains to stop and sentencing her magistrates said: "It would have caused great distress to passengers and staff and it was a miracle you were not killed."

They said her misbehaviour to neighbours was not acceptable.

She had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two offences of obstructing railway traffic and to trespassing on the railway line on July 23.

Whelan had also admitted at an earlier hearing two offences of assaulting Michael Johns, as well as criminal damage to his property, witness intimidation, and threatening behaviour, in July and August.

Whelan was sentenced to six months in jail suspended for 12 months, ordered to do 12 months supervision with the probation service, and ordered to pay £75 to Mr Johns.

She was also issued with a restraining order which ban her from contacting Mr Johns or Sarah-Jane Norris, or approaching premises where they live or work.

Prosecutor Philip Sewell said on the evening of July 23 Whelan three times ignored warnings about trains approaching Teignmouth Station.

She had sat on the edge of the platform dangling her legs over the track forcing a through train to stop; she went on to the tracks forcing another train approaching at 50mph to slow to a stop; and stood in the gap between the tracks as two trains passed either side of her.

Mr Swell said: "The staff looked down and saw that she was alive and called the police."

In interview with officers she said she did not remember the incidents as she was taking medication, but said she was not suicidal or attempting to kill herself.

He said there had been conflict between Whelan and her neighbours while she was living in Frogmore, near Kingsbridge.

She had told police in interview: "There was a conspiracy to get me arrested."

Solicitor Mark Drew for Whelan said his client was living a chaotic life style with accommodation, health and drink issues.

"When she is intoxicated she is quick to anger and act in an anti-social manner."

He said the trigger for her toxic behaviour to her neighbours was an abusive relationship with a man who was himself a heavy drinker.

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