A 23-year-old man who seriously assaulted a member of staff at Harrow on the Hill station has been jailed.
Viorel Schiopu, and of Lansdowne Road, Luton, pleaded guilty to Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH), Actual Bodily Harm (ABH) and Affray at Inner London Crown Court on 22 June 2023.
Yesterday (13 December), the judge sentenced him to three and a half years imprisonment in total, alongside an indefinite restraining order to not approach the victim or enter certain stations.
On 21 May shortly after midnight, the member of staff was working at Harrow on the Hill Underground station when he was approached by Schiopu who spoke to him briefly before pushing through the barrier.
Schiopu then threw the contents of a packet he was eating from at the victim and walked away.
A short time later Schiopu returned to the ticket hall. CCTV shows him having a conversation with his back turned to the victim, before suddenly turning around and throwing a violent punch to his head.
This caused the victim, a 61-year old man, to fall backwards to the ground and instantly fall unconscious.
Another member of staff heard a loud bang and ran over to find him, while Schiopu calmly left the station around a minute later.
The victim was rushed to a Major Trauma hospital where he was diagnosed with a bleed on the brain, a fractured skull and multiple facial fractures.
Later that day BTP released CCTV images of Schiopu which were shared widely on social media, leading to him handing himself into police the next day (22 May).
The victim remained in hospital for 12 days and is still slowly recovering from the injuries.
In his victim impact statement, he said: “To say the effects of the assault have been profound would be an understatement. It has changed everything, and my life is very different to what it used to be before….it feels like my freedom has been robbed from me.”
Detective Constable Tony Gittins said: “This was a truly appalling and unprovoked attack on a member of staff simply trying to do their job, and they are very sadly continuing to suffer the severe physical and mental effects of what happened to this day.
“Every member of staff should be able to go to work without fear of violence and we will always take a zero tolerance approach to such offending. This is clear from our swift and thorough investigation which has resulted in Schiopu being jailed just over two months after the incident – where he will now have time to reflect on the consequences of his actions.
“While it could never make up for what happened, I hope the victim is able to take some comfort from the fact justice has been served today and begin to start rebuilding his life as he knew it.”
Mandy McGregor, Head of Policing and Community Safety at Transport for London, said: “Our staff have the right to do their job without fear or intimidation and we do not tolerate any violence, aggression or threatening behaviour towards them. This was an appalling act of violence against a member of staff who was just trying to do their job and we’re pleased that the offender has been brought to justice. Everyone should be able to go about their day without fear or intimidation.
“We will always work with the police to push for the strongest sentences possible for offenders, and work with our staff and their unions to do everything we can to keep them safe.”