A JUDGE launched a scathing attack today (Tuesday) on four revellers involved in "appalling" violence on a train in front of horrified parents and children.

Passengers on the York to Newcastle service wept, some feared for the safety of others and one called police when trouble flared as it neared a stop at Darlington.

Friends Richard Thompson, Andrew Cowan, Joe Wilson and Lauren Seymour, all from the Nunthorpe and Stokesley areas, appeared at Teesside Crown Court.

Loading article content

The court heard Seymour and boyfriend Wilson, both 23, started the trouble as they drunkenly barged past other passengers on the crammed 20:48 train.

They then sought the help of burly pals Thompson, 33, and Cowan, 34, who "steamed in" and threw punches - some "ineffectual" at innocent travellers.

Prosecutor Rachel Brown said many of the others on the night-time service in July 2012 had been to a York race meeting.

Defence lawyers said the four were hard-working and usually decent people, but had been drinking.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton described them as "steamingly drunk yobs" and told them: "You now stand before me a picture of respectability with good references.

"The references give a picture of respectability, family people, hard-working individuals, but on this occasion on that train you behaved like yobs, all of you."

Angus MacDonald, for Seymour and Wilson, said she was on maternity leave from her work with a bookmaker and her roofer partner was the sole earner.

Robert Mochrie said father-of-five Cowan initially got involved to get his step-daughter away from the trouble, but the construction worker then threw punches.

John Harrison, for "gentle giant" Thompson, said the lorry driver had found the court case and risk of going to prison "an intimidating and frightening experience".

Seymour, of Seamer Moor Bungalows, Seamer, near Stokesley, admitted using threatening words or behaviour, and was given 40 hours unpaid work with £500 costs.

Wilson, of Battersby Junction, Battersby, admitted affray and received a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years with 140 hours' work and £1,800 costs.

Cowan, of The Avenue, Nunthorpe, and Thompson, of Taunton Close, Seamer, also admitted affray and got nine-month suspended sentences with 140 hours's work and £1,800 costs.

Judge Bourne-Arton told them: "The train system in this country provides what used to be called a public service, and many consider more should be persuaded to use it.

"That will be an aspiration that will not be easy to follow for as long as there are people like you travelling on the trains and behaving as you did on that evening.

"That was a crowded train. There were members of a cross-section of the public on it - women, men, children, families - all wishing to have a peaceful journey."