Rail station slap had ‘catastrophic’ impact for York woman Laura Jane Nicholas

York Press: . .

A YORK woman who was leaning against a moving train attacked a station worker when he tried to pull her to safety.

Laura Jane Nicholas, 28, then lied to police about her identity, giving her sister’s name instead of her own.

She has now lost her job and been given a community service sentence in court.

Leeds Crown Court heard Nicholas, of St Barnabas Close, had been drinking for eight hours on a birthday night out with friends in York then Leeds in September.

In the early hours of the morning she went to Leeds Station to get a train home, but while her friends caught the train she did not board on time.

She was spotted leaning against the train as it began to move away and was grabbed by a member of rail staff concerned for her safety.

Marie Austin-Walsh, prosecuting, said: “He tried to pull her back, she swung round and slapped him across the face.”

Nicholas was arrested by a British Transport Police officer and lied about her identity, giving her sister Anna’s name instead and her date of birth.

Although her partner told the officer that was not the truth, Nicholas insisted that was her identity. She was fingerprinted, but because she had not been convicted before that did not help identify her.

The next morning, when she had sobered up, she maintained her account and was eventually bailed in that name but she was rearrested later that day at her home address after the lie was uncovered.

She then admitted she was a supervisor at a care home for adults with learning difficulties and had used her sister’s name in panic because she did not want to lose her job.

Rob Casey, for Nicholas, told the court that she had an exemplary record until her two mistakes that night.

Having celebrated her birthday by drinking solidly from 6pm to 2am in York and Leeds she accepted she reacted instinctively when she was grabbed at the station and slapped the man before she realised who he was.

She compounded her difficulties by lying to the police about her identity in panic, then found herself in a position she could not escape.

He said the impact for her was catastrophic. Having been highly regarded at work, where she had been for seven years, and described in glowing references by friends and colleagues, she had lost her employment.

He said: “It wasn’t just a job, it’s her career and was her life and she is devastated.”

Nicholas admitted common assault and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

She was given a 12-month community order with 240 hours unpaid work.

Recorder Peter Babb said he was prepared to accept the slap was an instinctive reaction, but said she made the situation worse by giving false details to the police.

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