London, October 3, 2017
Power was cut to rail lines in the Wimbledon area south of London on Monday morning as passengers forced the doors opened and leapt onto the rail lines to escape a man who was reading from the Bible and speaking about Jesus Christ, The Guardian reports.
“Panicked commuters” forced open the doors open and “spill[ed]” onto the tracks after a man wearing a backpack began “recit[ing] Bible verses,” the London-based paper writes.
The incident occurred around 8:30 AM on Monday morning, just outside of Wimbledon Station, which forced Network Rail to cut power to the area, causing long delays lasting up to 12 hours, according to the BBC.
Ian O’Sullivan, a passenger on the train in question, said a man began reading from what believed to be the Old Testament while the train was stopped at a red light. “He was quite well spoken and calm,” he stated. “He said: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to talk to you about something and that something is the word of the Lord, Jesus Christ. He’s here to heal your sins. The Bible tells you that homosexuality is a sin and sex before marriage is a sin. You need to repent.’”
O’Sullivan said he did not find the man threatening, although others began pushing and shoving to get away from him. Others have said the man referred to “doomsday” and spoke of the afterlife. However, reports conflict on just what was said. “We could hear a woman [outside] saying there’s a man and he’s going to kill everybody,” Ian said, “but everybody in the carriage said he never said that.”
Hayley Barlow, a journalist of the local Channel 4 who witnessed the incident, stated that the train’s engineer had said “a passenger near the front of the train was chanting ‘You’re all going to die,’ which is why people forced the doors and fled,” iNews reports.
“Some idiots on my train have forced open carriage doors between stops and fled down the track and now the whole line into Waterloo is down,” she also stated.
O’Sullivan said the train’s guard came over the PA system to warn people that they could die if they touched one of the rails. The guard then came to the carriage, but found only a flask and boots in the main’s bag. “The guard did a brilliant job of trying to keep things under control,” O’Sullivan said. “He established pretty quickly that there wasn’t a threat.”
“Panic could have broken out but for the guard’s calm and measured response,” stated Mick Cash, the leaer of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport Union.
Police further questioned the man when the train eventually reached Wimbledon Station, but he was not arrested.
Gordon Larmour, 42, of Irvine, England, spent a night in jail in July last year after telling a teenager that homosexuality was a sin according to Christianity. He was accused of threatening or abusive behavior, although he was eventually acquitted.