A BINGE-DRINKER has been jailed for causing chaos for rush-hour travellers during an 85-minute stand-off on a railway bridge in the centre of Exeter.
Kevin Davis went on a 24-hour drinking spree after being released from prison, but it ended with him stealing Guinness from a shop and climbing onto the bridge in a bid to escape the police.
He caused misery to thousands of commuters and other train users as the lines from Exeter to Exmouth, Axminster, and Waterloo were closed.
Davis took refuge on the parapet of the bridge outside Exeter Central Station and kept police at bay by bombarding them with bottles and threatening to jump the 50ft onto the line below.
He taunted police negotiators that they would have to watch him die if he fell onto the tracks below, Exeter Crown Court was told.
His siege brought the centre of Exeter to a standstill and caused 11 trains to be cancelled or diverted.
Davis, 27, of Wellington, Somerset, who is now living at Stonehills Cottages, Littlebredy, near Dorchester, admitted theft, threatening behaviour and obstructing the railway.
He was jailed for a total of ten months by Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, who had twice adjourned the case to allow Davis to be assessed for alcohol treatment, only for him to jump bail and go on the run.
The judge told him: "All the trains had to be stopped, causing very considerable inconvenience to people who needed to reach their destinations. The disruption cost the train company an estimated £8,000.
"You had no recollection because you had been drinking heavily and alcohol features in most of your previous convictions. Maybe this sentence will be a trigger to stop you committing further offences."
Beth Heaton, prosecuting, said Davis had been released from a short jail sentence the previous day and police were called to the Co-op shop in Queen Street after he stole a case of Guinness.
Davis fled across fences and walls and was chased by police onto the railway line where he shinned 50ft up a bank and wall to reach the bridge parapet.
Miss Heaton said: "He was on that bridge for some time, on the railway side, and made threats he was going to jump.
"Police negotiated but he threw empty glass bottles at them and the incident ended when he gave himself up.
"He was arrested but while he was on the bridge three train services were cancelled and eight were part-cancelled and in all, the incident caused disruption to 22 services and cost an estimated £8,000."
Greg Richardson, defending, said Davis had succeeded in staying out of trouble in the past when he had not been drinking.
He accepted the need to receive treatment for a chronic problem.
He said: "He says he had no idea what he was doing that day and had no intention whatsoever of disrupting other people's lives."