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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Tristan Kirk

Ex-Waterloo worker spared jail after switching station number for Subway in harassment campaign

A disgruntled London Underground worker who tricked Subway customers into deluging the control room at Waterloo Station with sandwich orders during a harassment campaign against colleagues has narrowly avoided jail.

Lewis Kelly, 28, swapped the phone numbers on Google while harbouring a grudge against train station colleagues, and filmed himself laughing and saying “f***ing brilliant” as he checked his online handiwork.

Inner London crown court heard the stunt had put rail passengers in peril, as the station control room was inundated with food order calls for weeks and may have missed genuine emergencies.

Kelly launched his campaign and abuse - aimed at four colleagues - after he faced disciplinary action over a website objecting to the introduction of driverless trains, the court heard.

The customer services assistant, who claims he was bullied at work, hacked into colleagues’ emails, posted abuse on social media site Reddit, distributed “slanderous” flyers at Waterloo station, and sent one colleague a shredded South Western Railway Jacket and two Cadbury's Fudge bars - in an apparent homophobic slur.

Kelly was handed a nine-month suspended jail sentence in February 2023 after he admitted using “key logger” software to secretly record his colleagues’ passwords in order to hack into their emails.

He accessed confidential information within the emails, and signed one of his colleagues up to be transferred from Waterloo to Cockfosters without her knowledge.

But on the same day that he was sentenced, Kelly carried out more targeted acts against his colleagues, the court heard.

Back in the dock on Thursday, Kelly – who had been employed by both Transport for London and South Western Railway – was given a final reprieve from prison by Recorder Jenni Dempster KC.

“You have come within a hair’s breadth of prison this morning Mr Kelly”, she said.

“Your behaviour throughout this period has been completely unacceptable.”

She opted not to activate the suspended prison sentence but told him any more crimes would result in an "inevitable" spell behind bars. Kelly was given an 18-month community order with 80 hours of community service and 19 days on a rehabilitation programme.

Prosecutor Alex Kettle-Williams said Kelly left his job at the train station after he was found to have set up a website – f*** –in a reference to South Western Railway’s new driverless trains, complete with abusive comments aimed at colleagues.

“On February 26, 2023, TfL control room began to receive telephone calls from people intending to place orders and make enquiries atSubway in Clapham high street”, she said.

“They received a large amount of calls for a number of weeks.

“There were potential safety implications – the calls could have prevented the control room from receiving calls related to any critical incident at the station.”

She said the Google phone number switch was eventually discovered, and police later found a video Kelly had made of him searching online for Subway and commenting: “F***ing brilliant.”

On February 28, social media posts from Kelly were found, including the comment “F*** Waterloo LU Station” as well as “derogatory” remarks about one of his former colleagues.

A British Transport Police investigation also found Kelly had “physically been to Waterloo Station and handed out leaflets directing people to a further website”, said Ms Kettle-Williams.

In April last year, one station worker received the shredded jacket in a package sent to his home, and said he described “breaking down on the spot” when he later received the second parcel containing the chocolate bars.

Kelly’s first conviction came as a result him visiting Upton Park station just after being suspended from work, and using his staff access to apply a 75 per cent discount to his Oyster card, valued at £13,100-a-year.

When he was arrested over the new offences, police found three stolen South Western Railway passes for free travel at his home.

Veronica Ramsden, mitigation, said Kelly is hoping to move to Surrey and forge a new career in a drone filming business, and he now accepts the serious impact of his actions, especially on the four former colleagues.

She said a psychiatric assessment had been inconclusive but found traits of mental health disorders and depression, and she said Kelly “had been susceptible tobullying as a child”.

“He has this terrible stigma in his head that he is overweight, and if someone calls him fatty or four-eyes, he is absolutely demoralised and can’t get over it.”

She said Kelly’s only friend had also suggested there was a “toxic environment” at Waterloo station where Kelly was allegedly bullied.

“What he did and the way it was done was probably something a spiteful and stupid teenager would have done”, she added.

Judge Dempster accepted Kelly had been “immature”, and heard about his mental health struggles and efforts to get help following his guilty pleas.

Kelly, of Benson Avenue in East Ham, pleaded guilty to an unauthorised act in relation to a computer, theft and four counts of harassment.

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