Halifax man jailed after bottle attack on elderly man on train

Bradford Crown Court
Bradford Crown Court

A Halifax man who threw a glass bottle in a crowded railway carriage and badly injured an innocent passenger as he sat with his wife has been jailed.

A court heard how the bottle hurled by 20-year-old Luke Smith smashed on impact when it struck the head of 65-year-old Graham Morley.

Smith, who was described by one witness as looking “drugged up and out of it”, had been arguing with a woman on the late-night train between Leeds and Halifax last November when he picked up the bottle from a rubbish bin.

Prosecutor Charlotte Worsley said Smith threw the bottle from one end of the carriage to the other and it struck Mr Morley in the face.

“The bottle smashed on impact and he suffered facial injuries,” said Miss Worsley.

“Understandably other passengers were scared for their safety as a result of what was happening.”

She said Mr Morley described feeling “an explosion” in his face with blood pouring through his hands.

The Recorder of Bradford Judge Roger Thomas QC was shown photographs of Mr Morley’s injuries which included a substantial wound to the top of his head and another wound immediately above his right eye.

After the incident Mr Morley suffered some blurred vision but Miss Worsley said that had resolved without significant concern.

“Of course he would have been left with scarring as a result of those lacerations that were caused,” she added.

Smith, now 21, of Kershaw Crescent, Luddendenfoot, said he couldn’t remember throwing the bottle because he was so drunk that night.

The incident involving Mr Morley was four months after Smith had fired a BB gun into the face of Simon Cavanagh during a doorstep argument at Smith’s home.

During that early hours exchange Smith had armed himself with the BB gun before shooting Mr Cavanagh four times in the face from close range.

Miss Worsley said four four days later the complainant had four ball bearings removed from his left temple, left upper neck and chin.

During the police inquiry into the shooting incident Smith sent intimidating Facebook messages to a woman telling her to retract her statement.

Smith, who had previous convictions for violence, pleaded guilty to unlawfully wounding Mr Cavanagh and Mr Morley as well as the offence of witness intimidation.

Judge Thomas today/yesterday jailed him for a total of three years and ordered him to pay £1000 compensation to Mr Morley and £250 to Mr Cavanagh.

Smith’s barrister Michele Stuart-Lofthouse said he had expressed remorse for the offences, but Judge Thomas noted that he had a an impulsive character which involved “behavioural explosions”.

The judge said Mr Morley and his wife had presumably enjoyed a pleasant evening out in Leeds and were making their way home with other passengers.

“Your reaction, just the sort of behavioural explosion the psychiatrist speaks of, was to get hold of a bottle and launch it in that crowded carriage,” said Judge Thomas.

He said the bottle could have had catastrophic consequences if it had hit the woman Smith was arguing with, but instead it travelled more or less the length of the carriage and struck the unfortunate Mr Morley who was sitting there minding his own business.

The judge said he had suffered a wound only a hair’s breadth away from this right eye and it was easy to think that the bottle could have landed in his eye and he could have lost it.

Smith was jailed for a total of three years with 12 months for wounding Mr Cavanagh with the BB gun and an additional two years for the bottle incident.

He received a concurrent sentence of three months for witness intimidation.