POLICE fired a Taser at a knife-wielding man who closed Banbury Station when he climbed on to a signal gantry, it emerged last night.

The near five-hour stand-off with officers was ended yesterday when the man – who police said was harming himself with a knife – fell from the gantry.

He was taken to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital and was last night said to be in a serious condition.

Thames Valley Police spokeswoman Michelle Nichols said police did fire a Taser but could not confirm if the man was struck by its barbs.

The man had scaled the structure just after 9am.

The station was shut during the incident, causing severe delays to rail services.

Eyewitness Sarah Jones, 22, was planning to catch a train to Oxford yesterday morning.

She said: “At about 9.30am I saw a man sat on the pylon. Police were running through the station to try to talk him down.

“I don’t know what he’d done to himself, but he was covered in blood.

“He was wearing a yellow T-shirt and from the neckline to the bottom, right down the middle, was pure red. His hands were all red too.”

Police officers attempted to talk the man down.

Miss Jones, from Banbury, added: “He was shouting at police officers, kicking out at them and throwing things at them. He then started using his hands to pull the wires apart.”

Miss Jones said all platforms were evacuated at about 10.15am.

She said: “We were told to go upstairs and stay away from the windows and things.

“There was a woman who said she was a mental health social worker who knew him. She was with the police talking to him.”

The full-time mum said: “It was really scary. No one was expecting this. There were little kids around. It must have been terrifying for them.”

Craig Barrie, who lives behind the station, added: “They shut off the bridge in Bridge Street and no one was allowed over it, except one woman who was escorted by police over the bridge at one point.

“The negotiators kept putting their hands up, gesturing for him to come down.”

The 40-year-old, full-time dad of six, said: “The police actually tried getting up on the gantry hole and he turned around and went backwards over the side.

“He landed on the platform on his back and everyone rushed towards him – police, paramedics, everyone.

“It was quite dramatic and traumatic.”

Chiltern Rail and CrossCountry trains through Banbury were cancelled and delayed, with replacement buses running between the station and Bicester North and Oxford. Buses were also affected, due to the bridge closure and Middleton Road being closed to traffic.

British Transport Police spokesman Brian Price said: “Trained negotiators from Thames Valley Police spoke to the man while he remained on the gantry above the tracks.

“The man jumped from the gantry shortly after 2pm and was detained by officers before being taken by ambulance to John Radcliffe.”

Both forces have contacted the Independent Police Complaints Commission over the incident.

The station re-opened at 2.30pm, and normal train services were resumed shortly after 5pm.

  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed

Our top stories