Jail term for Doncaster woman who caused rail delays costing thousands

Doncaster railway station
Doncaster railway station

A woman who caused disruption for thousands of commuters and motorists in South Yorkshire and cost the authorities more than £30, 000 has been given a jail term.

Doncaster woman Gillian Fairgreave caused trains to be delayed on three separate occasions - including once for more than 15 hours - by going onto the railway tracks and a bridge in the Kirk Sandall area and threatening to cause harm to herself.

On another occasion she also caused a main road to be closed in Doncaster by sitting on a foot bridge and claiming she again would cause herself harm.

Sheffield Crown Court heard that the 42-year-old, of Wilberforce Road in the Clay Lane area of Doncaster, cost the railway authorities tens of thousands of pounds due to delays.

Brian Outhwaite, prosecuting, said Fairgreave was spotted by a member of the public on a foot bridge near Doncaster town centre on February 17 at about 11.20pm with her “feet hanging over the edge.”

He said it took police about an hour to coax her down, during which “traffic was stopped causing considerable disruption to the public.”

Mr Outhwaite said Fairgreave told officers she had become “overwhelmed” by a number of issues but later said “sorry for the inconvenience she had caused.”

The court heard that she committed the latest offence while the subject of a suspended sentence order for three similar offences between August and October last year in the Kirk Sandall area.

Mr Outhwaite said on one occasion she had been on the train tracks for more than 15 hours, causing excessive delays and nearly £20, 000 in costs to the railway authorities.

During another incident she had to be coaxed down from a railway bridge after more than an hour, costing railway bosses £11, 000, and another time caused delays of nearly 20 minutes and around £1000 to the railway authorities.

Angela Wrottesley, defending, said Fairgreave had been receiving help with mental health problems and this recent spate of offences was the first time she had been in trouble with the law.

Fairgreave pleaded guilty to causing a nuisance to the public.

Judge Recorder Caroline Wigin imposed a 10-month jail sentence, suspended for two years and with a rehabilitation activity requirement.

Fairgreave was also made to serve a one-month prison term but was free to leave court as she had already served this time in custody.

Recorder Wigin told Fairgreave: “If you do this again the next court you come in front of may impose the full 10-month sentence.”