A Brexit supporter has been jailed for 12 months for bringing Eurostar services to a halt on ‘Brexit Day’ by climbing on top of a railway tunnel wrapped in an England flag.
Terry Maher’s protest on March 31 - the day Britain was originally due to leave the EU - near St Pancras International station caused 88 trains to be cancelled, affecting 22,000 people.
The 44-year-old’s stunt was described as the "single most expensive incident in the history of high-speed rail in Britain" and was estimated by British Transport Police to have cost £1 million.
Maher, who lives in Clerkenwell near the station, was jailed after previously admitting committing an unlawful act on a railway under the Malicious Damage Act, as well as one count of sending a malicious communication to his ex-girlfriend.
Maher, who has a history of mental health issues, wrapped himself in a St George’s flag before climbing on to the roof of the tunnel with power banks for his phone and warm clothing and staying there for 13 hours before being talked down.
Blackfriars Crown Court heard that his actions stopped high-speed trains travelling to the southeast and France, disrupting thousands of commutes and delaying holidays and leaving people stranded overnight in London.
When arrested Maher complained about the police and Brexit.
He told the court that the stunt was a “cry for help”, saying: "I'm aware I could have gone to prison for that, but I was asking for help."
Nasreen Tincey, in mitigation, said: "He has been suffering from a number of mental health issues."
Speaking after Maher was sentenced, investigating officer Detective Sergeant Dean Percival said: “This has been described as the single most expensive incident in the history of high-speed railway in Britain.
“However, not only did it cost the rail industry, it also cost thousands of commuters and holiday-makers their time, significantly delaying their journeys and leaving them stranded at stations desperate for the situation to be resolved."
He added: “Maher’s selfish actions profoundly impacted the day-to-day lives of the public; that impact is what he was brought to court to answer for.”