Drunken bodybuilder jailed for attacking five staff and passengers on train

Mutasa carried out physical and sexual assaults on staff and fellow passengers as the train headed north.
Mutasa carried out physical and sexual assaults on staff and fellow passengers as the train headed north.

A "man mountain" has been put behind bars for attacks on five passengers and staff during a drunken rampage on a train.

Laurence Mutasa caused chaos and fear when he sexually assaulted a female traveller, attacked two students and lashed out at a catering worker and train guard during a Virgin East Coast journey from Kings Cross to Stirling in April last year.

The drunk 37-year-old, who was described by frightened witnesses as a "bodybuilder" and "man mountain", argued with and hurled abuse at passengers during the traumatising trip.

A judge at Newcastle Crown Court said the words "nuisance, pest and absolute horror" were descriptions that didn't do justice to his outrageous behaviour that day.

Prosecutor Angus Taylor said Mutasa had been noticed making repeated trips to the buffet car from the train's arrival at York.

"One witness described him as looking like a bodybuilder, which was a common theme within the statements. Another described him as being a 'man mountain'."

Mutasa's first attack was on two students, who boarded the train at Newcastle for a trip to Berwick.

He "penned in" the girl by sitting beside her and put his hands on her leg, arm, and shoulder, before turned his attention to her male friend, who he repeatedly slapped "forcibly" on the head.

The court heard an-off duty firefighter moved Mutasa away from the students, and he headed to the buffet car, where he shouted "where's my f****** food'," before making thrusting motions behind a trolley service worker.

Mutasa argued with passengers who objected to his outragous behaviour, then hit a member of catering staff who stepped in to help.

As the train headed north, Mutasa pestered a mum and her 13-month old baby, who were forced to move seats because of him.

He then targeted a female passenger, who told him to leave her alone. He grabbed her private diary which she was forced to wrestle back from him.

He called the woman "fat" and a "bitch", then sexually assaulted her.

When a guard arrived, Mutasa elbowed him in the chest "extremely hard" as he tried to move him away from other passengers .

Mr Taylor added: "All this occured around Alnmouth. Telephone coverage was poor. The guard was trying to get police to meet them at Berwick."

After he was attacked, the guard managed to place the call to the police and four British Transport Police officers got on the train at Berwick.

Mutasa was handcuffed, arrested and taken off the train. When interviewed later he had no recollection at all of the events.

The staff and passengers were "badly shaken" by Mutasa's behaviour, and the train guard said it was the "worst experience" of his career.

The woman who was sexually assaulted had been making a journey to visit her ill father, who has since died.

She said in a victim statement: "I had to provide a witness statement. A few days earlier my dad had been rushed into hospital. I spent at least three hours giving this statement. I realise it was necessary, but the time could have been spent comforting my father."

Mutasa, of Broomhouse, Medway, Edinburgh, pleaded guilty to four charges of common assault, one of sexual assault and a public order offence.

The court heard he has 50 previous convictions, including offences of violence, disorder and dishonesty.

Judge Amanda Rippon said his behaviour was "disgraceful", and sentenced him to a total of 12 months behind bars.

She said: "To describe you as a nuisance, pest, absolute horror, does not do justice to what you inflicted on the passengers that day."

Judge Rippon told the court her sentencing powers were heavily restricted due to the charges Mutasa admitted.