A WORCESTER man has been given a community service sentence and ordered to pay his victim compensation after being convicted of assaulting a London tube train ticket inspector.

The former army Lance Corporal who now acts as a private bodyguard, throttled a tube train ticket inspector during a fares row after pinning his arm and shouting: “I’ll snap it,” City of London Magistrates Court was told.

Close protection specialist Ian Paxton, 33, of Fels Avenue, Worcester, who once boxed for his regiment, used his bank card to tap-in for his Piccadilly Line journey and refused to hand it over to be checked.

He was convicted of assaulting revenue inspector Vince Fitzsimonds on August 20, last year between Knightsbridge and South Kensington station and sentenced to a twelve-month community order, which includes 100 hours community service work. He was also ordered to pay £150 compensation to Mr Fitzsimonds, plus an £85 victim surcharge.

Paxton told the court that Mr Fitzsimonds failed to properly identify himself and then snatched his driving licence out of his hand when he demanded to see it for a penalty fare.

The court heard that Paxton had served in the Royal Logistic Corps for ten years, which included tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland and had represented the regiment in both boxing and rugby.

Mr Fitzsimonds, who boarded the train with two colleagues, told the trial: “I asked to check his ticket and there was no response, so I repeated: ‘Can I check your ticket please?’

“He said: ‘I haven’t got a ticket, I’ve got a bank card’ so I asked to check his bank card with my card reader and he said: ‘I’m not letting you check my bank card with that machine, I don’t know who you are.

“I told him it would be a penalty fare situation and that he would have to alight at the next stop.

“He said he was going to Heathrow and if I wanted to go there it was up to me.

“I asked if he had any ID on him and he handed me his driving licence.

“He jumped out of his seat and came right up into my face and said: ‘Give me my driving licence.’

“I thought he was possibly going to headbutt me and I turned my head. He was aggressive now.

“He grabbed me around the throat with his arm in a choking action. I felt he was trying to get his forearm around my throat.

“I was trying to stop him choking me and my two colleagues were trying to get him off me and I could hear them saying: ‘Get off him.’

“He threw me to the side and grabbed my right arm and was trying to force it up my back.

“Now he was shouting: ‘I’ll snap it, I’ll snap your arm. Give me my driving licence.’

“I felt really threatened now. It was a launched assault.”

Paxton denied threatening to break the inspector’s arm, insisting he feared for his driving licence and was saying: “Don’t snap it.”

Mr Fitzsimonds said Paxton identified himself as a security expert during the struggle.

He continued : “I could tell he was trying out a move, some sort of professional and controlling thing with my arm. I felt the arm could snap.

“I was pushed down onto the seats with force and then he had his hands around my throat. I couldn’t get up.

“It was the worst experience in the manner of the assault, the control, the choking, the move to the arm that I’ve experienced in 25 years in the job. I couldn’t fight back.”

Mr Fitzsimonds said there was no credibility in Paxton genuinely suspecting he was the potential victim of a scam.

“I’ve heard stories about cards being skimmed, but I’ve never come across a fake inspector,” he told the court.

Paxton also claimed the inspector’s Transport For London polo shirt was excessively worn and that he only saw a quick flash of his Mr Fitzsimonds’ ID card when the ticket demand was made.

He told the court he saw a hand coming towards him and took action to defend himself.

Mr Fitzsimonds received a small injury to his lip, during the incident and added : “I had redness around my throat and by my ear and head.”

Paxton was sentenced to a twelve-month community order, which includes 100 hours community service work and he must pay £150 compensation to Mr Fitzsimonds, plus an £85 victim surcharge.