May 23 2013 Latest news:
Colin Grainger, Editor
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
A housewife who tried to murder a five-year-old boy by dragging him into the path of a train has been detained in a mental hospital indefinitely.
Radhika Sharma, 35, leapt in front of a locomotive as horrified commuters looked on. The driver slammed on the brakes but was powerless to stop as the woman and child disappeared from his view.
Both miraculously escaped unharmed after falling into a gap between the tracks as the engine passed overhead.
Sharma was convicted of attempted murder and child cruelty following a two-week trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
She was sentenced to be detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act after psychiatrists said she was delusional and believed she was being followed by a man called Binka.
Judge David Radford told her: “It is my view that it was only by the grace of God that you and the boy were not killed or seriously injured by contact with the train. Very fortunately, the boy’s injuries were only slight though there is clear evidence that he suffered real psychological harm from what happened to him. Happily as time passes it is to be hoped that harm is dissipating.’
He added: “The guidelines make clear that even if an offence like this is not premeditated and there was no injury caused, an offender can expect to be sent to prison for a significant number of years. Had it not been for the clear medical evidence that you had been suffering from mental illness and continue to suffer, such a sentence would have to have been passed.”
Sharma will receive treatment at at a specialist centre. She will only be released when the Home Secretary decides she no longer poses a risk to the public.
Sharma showed no emotion as she was led out of the dock, flanked by nurses.
Emergency services were called to Stratford station last June 10, where Sharma claimed to a paramedic that she had only been trying to kill herself.
Police had spoken to her earlier that same day after she grabbed the boy and swung him in front of an oncoming train at nearby Forest Gate station. CCTV showed the 2.44pm service being forced to brake hard to avoid hitting the child, missing him by inches.
Sharma claimed he had been playing on the railings when he almost fell and she had to reach out and catch him.
She then boarded a train to Stratford with the boy, arriving at 3.09pm.
Train driver Richard Roscoe said he was only travelling at 10 to 15 miles an hour as he pulled into Stratford station.
He said: “I saw an Indian woman standing fairly close to the yellow line on the platform. As I approached, she started walking straight ahead as if she was going to board the train. I didn’t see anyone else there. She walked straight up to the yellow line, looking straight ahead, then just stepped out. She went down into the tracks - I did think I’d hit her, I didn’t feel any bump or hear any noise.
“I put the train straight into emergency mode so the brakes locked. The first I knew about the boy was when the paramedics said he was still alive.’
After she jumped onto the tracks, Sharma was taken to the hospital for psychiatric assessments. Her condition deteriorated after her arrest and she was later admitted another centere with severe depression.
Psychiatrist Dr Philip Baker, who is treating Sharma, said she had been suffering from delusions and believed a man called Binka and his agents were following her.
He said her mental illness could have been triggered by a traumatic incident when she was a teenager in India.
Neena Chrinnian, defending, said: “She never received any assistance for her illness before her admission to hospital last June.
“She has expressed deep regret for what’s happened and regret that the boy was exposed to harm, but doesn’t accept responsibility for what happened. Her condition is now being treated and there has been an improvement. There is no evidence to support the contention that she poses a risk to the general public.’
Sharma, of Davidson Terrace, Forest Gate, denied attempted murder and child cruelty.