Asylum seeker who ‘wanted to suicide bomb train’ told by worker ‘you’re not getting on without a ticket’

Sureshkumar Thurairajah, 44, had approached a rail worker, telling him: “I want to suicide bomb the train”

He urged the judge to impose a sentence of less than 12 months, as he intends to appeal against his deportation, which is automatic if jailed for a year or more.

An asylum seeker who said he wanted to ‘ suicide bomb ‘ a train was calmly told by a worker that he couldn’t get on without a ticket.

Sureshkumar Thurairajah, 44, wore a bulging anorak zipped up to his neck and a baseball cap covering part of his face at Liverpool’s Lime Street Station.

When asked if he had a ticket at the underground station ’s barriers he told Merseyrail worker David Evans: “I want to suicide bomb the train.”

But a judge praised Mr Evans’ cool response.

Judge Anil Murray said: “In the present climate where bombs are used to cause terror, the very threat to use a bomb, whether real or not, is likely to cause fear and panic.

“Thankfully Mr Evans remained calm. He told you that you couldn’t get on the platform without a ticket, then contacted police who approached, searched you and there was in fact no bomb.”

Thurairajah was arrested at the station by British Transport Police at around 3.20pm on April 1 this year.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the Sri Lankan earlier suffered a breakdown after collapsing and being taken to hospital when told of his failed asylum bid.

Gareth Roberts, prosecuting, said Thurairajah told police officers he wanted to throw himself in front of a train.

He later explained he heard voices in his head and wanted to kill himself and was taken to hospital for treatment.

Thurairajah, of Wrexham, who has no previous convictions, admitted communicating false information.

He later tried to change his guilty plea, but the application was rejected after a two-day hearing.

Eric Lamb, defending, said his client left Sri Lanka where he was accused of being part of the Tamil Tigers terrorist group.

He said: “He is subject to a warrant in Sri Lanka where he had been suspected of spying for the Tamil Tigers.

“The defendant makes clear to me that is a false accusation but it is certainly a matter that looms very large in the defendant’s thoughts and his situation.”

A doctor’s report revealed Thurairajah “witnessed terrible events” in Sri Lanka and was diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Despite numerous suicide attempts, the doctor did not believe he required hospital treatment and could be treated in the community.

Mr Lamb said eight supporters in the public gallery confirmed Thurairajah was “well-regarded” thanks to his voluntary work.

He urged the judge to impose a sentence of less than 12 months, as he intends to appeal against his deportation, which is automatic if jailed for a year or more.

Mr Lamb said: “This was an unhappy exception to the defendant’s otherwise good conduct and there were plainly extreme pressures upon him at the time.”

The court heard he had previously been hospitalised in March after telling police he wanted to die.

Mr Lamb said: “When detained by the police he said he was a terrorist and had links with al-Qaeda.”

Judge Murray accepted Thurairajah had mental health problems and received bad news about his immigration status, which made him “agitated”.

He said supporters described him as “kind-hearted, helpful and community-spirited” and he had received a Community Action award.

The judge said: “It’s clear you have made a positive contribution to the community you live in.”

Judge Murray handed Thurairajah 10 months in prison, prompting him to clasp his hands in prayer and say: “Thank you – God bless you.”