Shocking CCTV shows the moment a former Eurotunnel boss was shoved onto the tracks of the London Underground seconds before a train hurtles into the station.
Sir Robert Malpas, 91, said he felt himself ‘flying’ on to the rails from the platform at Marble Arch after Paul Crossley, 46, shoved him from behind with both hands.
Crossley, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia when he was 17, was today found guilty of attempted murder and as the footage was played in the Old Bailey for the first time it drew gasps from the public gallery.
Sir Robert, who was knighted by the Queen in 1998 was Crossley’s second victim, after he earlier attempted to push another victim in front of a train at Tottenham Court Road.
Hero passer-by Riyad El Hussani, leapt from the platform to save Sir Robert as he lay sprawled on the racks as the electronic arrivals board showed just one minute until the next train.
The retired industrialist was left with a fractured pelvis and a gash to the head requiring 12 stitches after the attack on April 27.
Tobias French, managed to keep his balance when he was pushed by Crossley as a train pulled in to Tottenham Court Road station.
Crossley told jurors his victims were chosen at random but claimed he had not intended to kill them.
But he was found guilty of two counts of attempted murder today.
Sir Robert, who sat in the public gallery with his arms folded, showed no emotion as the verdicts were read out.
But he sobbed after the jury left the court, removing his glasses to wipe away tears.
The Recorder of London, Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC, adjourned sentencing for reports.
Prosecutor Benjamin Aina QC said Sir Robert was ‘in a very bad way’ following the attack, but added: ‘Fortunately he has recovered. He is able to walk and go about his normal affairs.’
He said Tobias French had played professional sport, which had enabled him to keep his balance.
The judge said: ‘Mr El Hussani showed extraordinary bravery with a complete disregard for his own safety in saving Sir Robert and he is obviously to be commended for that.’
In a statement read to jurors during the trial, Sir Robert said he had been to a pensioners’ lunch in central London before using his freedom pass for his planned journey to Oxford Circus on the Central line.
CCTV footage shows him walking along the platform, wearing a brown Burberry raincoat, suit and tie, and carrying an umbrella.
He is then approached from behind by Crossley, who has a hood pulled over his cap, before being sent sprawling on to the tracks.
‘As I was walking along the platform I felt a two-handed push to my back,’ said Sir Robert.
‘I felt myself flying over the tracks and landing on the rails. I may have been concussed but only for a very short time. I banged my head on the rails.’
He was rescued by French teacher Mr El Hussani, who had just finished work at the Dorchester Hotel in Mayfair.
He said he heard ‘screams and shouting’ before running 20 metres to where Sir Robert lay with his clothes and umbrella covered in blood.
‘I then jumped straight on to the tracks to save his life,’ he said in a statement on the day of the incident.
‘I’m still in shock with what’s happened. I also feel sad as I could have lost my life twice.
‘I was scared that when I was on the tracks I could have been electrocuted and also could have then been hit by a train.’
Mr El Hussani suffered burns to his right hand after touching the electrified rail.
Mr French told of his own lucky escape, having been pushed by Crossley as he waited for a train earlier the same day.
‘I remember thinking I was very lucky to be alive,’ he said.
‘There was a train coming in my direction at the time and if I had been pushed in front of it, I’m certain I would have been killed.
‘I was fortunate I was quick to defend myself along with help from a member of the public.’
Crossley, who was living in a homeless hostel in east London, was chased and detained by members of the public after he pushed Sir Robert.
He told them: ‘It’s not right, I know it’s wrong,’ before explaining to police officers: ‘I didn’t get much sleep last night.’
Crossley, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia when he was 17, admitted he was the man wearing a cap and hood caught on CCTV shoving both men.
He told jurors he had taken crack cocaine the previous day and began feeling paranoid as he made his way to the West End to get coffee.
Crossley claimed he had meant ‘to scare’ Mr French who had ‘looked at me a bit funny’, and said he was having a panic attack at the time he attacked Sir Robert, intending to ‘push him over on to the floor’.
He denied two charges of attempted murder and an alternative count of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm to Mr French, but pleaded guilty to a wounding charge in relation to the attack on Sir Robert.
Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Darren Gough, said: ‘This was a particularly shocking incident and the victims in this case were extremely lucky.
‘We could have easily been dealing with a double murder investigation had it not been for the brave actions of the public who stepped in and restrained Mr Crossley, and assisted the victims.
‘I would like to remind the public that this type of incident is very rare and millions of journeys are made across the Underground without incident.
‘We thankfully police a CCTV rich environment and this evidence has proved invaluable in bringing Crossley to justice. I am pleased that the jury saw fit to find him guilty of two counts of attempted murder.
Siwan Hayward, Director of Compliance, Policing and On-Street Services at Transport for London, said: ‘We welcome Crossley’s conviction for this truly shocking and dangerous attack.
‘The safety of our customers is paramount and we have worked with the police to bring the perpetrator to justice. Such incidents are thankfully extremely rare and we always support the strongest possible action against anyone who endangers our customers.’