Captain of industry Sir Robert Malpas was rescued by a passer-by, a court was told
A former Eurotunnel boss has told how he felt himself ‘flying’ onto Tube tracks after he was pushed from behind on his way from a pensioners’ lunch.
CCTV footage played at the Old Bailey showed the moment Paul Crossley, 46, allegedly sent 91-year-old Sir Robert Malpas sprawling on to the rails at Marble Arch station.
He was rescued by a heroic passer-by but left with a fractured pelvis and a gash to the head requiring 12 stitches following the incident on April 27.
In a statement read to jurors in court, retired 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.
‘As I was walking along the platform I felt a two-handed push to my back,’ said Sir Robert, who had been wearing a Burberry raincoat, suit and tie and carrying an umbrella.
‘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.’
Sir Robert said he saw and heard nothing of his attacker, adding: ‘I have absolutely no idea why anyone I know would do this or indeed any other individual.
‘I became aware of a male to my right. The male lifted me by my upper body. I was then moved up to the platform for others to help me.’
His rescuer was French teacher Riyad El Hussani, who had just finished work at the Dorchester Hotel in Mayfair.
Riyad El Hussani (pictured) jumped on to the tracks at Marble Arch station on the London Underground with the electronic arrivals board showing one minute until the next train
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 saw lots of people standing around and it looked like they wanted to help him,’ Mr El Hussani said. ‘I then heard people shouting, “get up” and “get out”.
‘I then jumped straight on to the tracks to save his life. My hands stopped my fall on the tracks. I then grabbed the male.
‘People were screaming at me to get up. I then looked over my left shoulder and could see and hear a train. The danger then kicked in.
‘I grabbed the male and pushed him up to the right before the platform. I then felt people’s hands on me and him.’
Mr El Hussani was left with a burn on his right hand from touching the electrified track.
‘I’m still in shock with what’s happened. I also feel sad as I could have lost my life twice,’ he said.
‘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.’
Sir Robert, who was knighted by the Queen in 1998, is the former chairman of Eurotunnel
Another man, Tobias French, told of his own lucky escape, saying he was pushed by Crossley as he waited for a train at Tottenham Court Road station earlier the same day.
‘I heard the sound of quick footsteps behind me. I then felt two hands behind on my upper back and then an aggressive push towards the Tube tracks when the Tube was no more than 10 metres away.’
He said the shove made him step forward, but he regained his balance, only to turn around and be pushed again to the upper body.
Mr French was able to stay on the platform, while Crossley was pulled to the ground by another passenger, jurors were told.
He said his attacker ‘curled into a ball’ by putting his hands around his head, while Mr French asked him: ‘What the f***?’
Witnesses described seeing a scuffle and hearing the ‘whoosh of the train’ and the ‘trundle of the platform’ as the Tube pulled into the station.
‘At the time of the incident I didn’t think I was going to die,’ said Mr French in a statement.
‘It all happened so quickly, I didn’t have time to think like that. I was just concerned with defending myself and keeping myself from being pushed into the tracks.’
Mr French said he started to reflect on what could have happened after speaking to other passengers.
‘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, from east London, denies two charges of attempted murder and an alternative count of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm to Mr French.
He has pleaded guilty to a wounding charge in relation to the attack on Sir Robert.
Crossley is said to have told members of the public who detained him: ‘It’s not right, I know it’s wrong.’
He told police ‘I didn’t get much sleep last night’ when officers arrived, jurors heard. The trial continues.
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