Drunk man who headbutted Hampshire rail worker and destroyed police radio jailed

Bernard Hartnett, 28, stumbled into Portsmouth and Southsea railway station with a crate of beer. Credit: British Transport Police

A drunk man who headbutted a member of staff at a railway station and destroyed a police radio has been jailed for two years.

Bernard Hartnett, 28, of Challis Court, Southampton, stumbled into Portsmouth and Southsea railway station in Hampshire on 8 August 2021 with a crate of beer.

A member of staff approached him to say that he couldn't travel in his intoxicated state, to which Hartnett replied, "it’s not ******* fair".

Hartnett became increasingly aggressive towards the staff member before headbutting him on the nose.

He then grabbed hold of the victim and began pushing him towards the platform edge, causing the staff member’s knee to collapse as he fell to the floor.

As the victim lay on the platform Hartnett attempted to punch him before other members of rail staff rushed over and restrained Hartnett.

Police officers swiftly attended and arrested Hartnett, who began to struggle as they led him away.

He then bit into one of their police radios and refused to release it.

When the radio was eventually freed, part of it had snapped off leaving its internal wires hanging from Hartnett's mouth.

The member of staff was taken to a local hospital where he underwent surgery for a ruptured tendon in his knee.

He was required to wear a supportive leg brace for three months following the attack.

British Transport Police investigated the attack.

Following an investigation by British Transport Police, Hartnett appeared at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court on 2 February 2023 where he pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm without intent and criminal damage.

He was due to attend court on 14 April for sentencing but failed to appear.

Following an arrest warrant issued by the court, he was tracked down and on May 22, attended Portsmouth Crown Court where a judge sentenced him to two years imprisonment.

Detective Constable Phil James, investigating officer in the case, said: "Put simply, Hartnett’s actions that morning were appalling. No one should go to work and be subjected to violence or intimidation.

"We will always support those working on the railway and ensure anyone who does them harm faces the consequences of their actions.

"I hope the adequate prison sentence handed down to Hartnett brings some the victim some small comfort.

"If you witness violence or harassment directed at rail staff or passengers on the network, I urge you to report it to us by texting 61016.

"We have zero tolerance for this offending, and we’ll always take action."