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ayp2017

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Hello,
My 19 year old daughter is a university student in Manchester, but she's living at home for the summer. For context, though I don't think it's going to affect the outcome in any way, she has very severe mental health issues that started when she was very young, including depression and suicidal thoughts. It's very very hard to get through to her or get the full facts as to what happened because she's been in quite a bad way ever since she did this (which, don't get me wrong, she has no one to blame but herself!) and texts me worrying about whether she'll go to prison every other day ;) bless her.
She's been struggling a lot with money, as any student would- I'm out of work at the moment so I couldn't lend her the train fare she ended up evading, which just makes me feel like a rubbish mum to be honest, but what's done is done. So some time a few weeks ago, she applied for a job at a pub back near where she lives at university and decided that if she got it, since she'd only be working in the day time she'd start taking the train back and forth rather than moving back to the city until the tenancy at her new university house begins (sodding student landlords making kids pay half rent for a house they can't even move in to!!!). On the day of her interview, she took the bus from our home station to Bradford Interchange. This is where her quite frankly very stupid attempt to save a bit of cash started:
She bought some sort of ticket to get on the train, obviously from some station much closer to Bradford, then when she got off, she bought another cheaper one from a station close to Manchester. She said one of her friends did it all the time and nothing ever happened (kids, eh?) and she didn't have enough for the train so she might as well try (silly girl!!!). I'm not sure of the exact stations, I've never been to Manchester on the train, and she downright shuts down and sobs if I try to ask her (and I'm not going to send my child into a full blown mental health episode over some train tickets, so I've stopped prying). Of course, at Manchester, she got caught, which is only right I suppose- though it'll be a very very expensive lesson to learn! Where it gets worse is that the silly girl, not knowing how much trouble she was in, told the officer at the station she'd come in from somewhere close to Manchester AGAIN, and she said this was the station the man wrote on his report. What's more is, the two tickets she ended up buying to save money came to almost the same cost as buying a bloody ticket in the first place!!! I'm absolutely baffled, and feeling like a really rubbish parent for not just sending her the money that day, to be honest. I have no idea what excuses she gave as to where or why she got on, she absolutely will not budge and I don't want to cause her any more upset than she's already feeling, really. I probably won't even know until I read through her letter!!
We've come to the conclusion that whatever punishment she's going to get will probably be the harshest possible, considering all the things she did wrong:
- False ticket
- Overstaying (? Is this the right term)
- Another false ticket
- False origin station

The question is, is there much point in further incriminating herself in the letter? I've told her yes, as they can probably look at CCTV any time they want. She's never done anything of the sort before because I have always been able to help her out. Obviously her job interview didn't go too well considering she was so upset, so everything was very worst-case scenario here! :( I'm encouraging her to just be as honest as she can in the letter and apologise as much as she can, since it's obviously going to court whether she likes it or not, and she is VERY apologetic. I know what she did was really bad and trust me, she knows too, you don't have to tell me twice! I'm just trying to protect my little girl's sanity here, though, above all else. Her dad's not very present in her life but has offered to help her in the future with money for things like travel whilst I'm still searching for a new job so she doesn't have to resort to stuff like this (though I doubt she ever will!). He will also help her with any fines and things, though it took a lot of effort to even get ahold of the man, so please no comments about "why didn't dad help then"! The letter cites Should legal proceedings be invoked, in addition to any fines imposed by the court, there will be an application for a minimum of £150 as a contribution to our costs. It also mentions that Regulation of Railways Act and Railway Byelaws apply. I just need a bit of help in helping her to write her letter, really, because she's absolutely distraught and already very poorly in her head, which I do appreciate that Northern will not care about hearing, but quite frankly, as her mum, is ALL I care about, first and foremost!!! It might sound silly to some that she's this worked up about a train fare, but if you could see her in front of you, you would understand!! I can post the letter she got if needs be. Thanks so much everyone for your help,

Andrea xx :lol:
 
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RailUK Forums

Fawkes Cat

Established Member
Joined
8 May 2017
Messages
1,482
Welcome to the forum.

Given your daughter's mental health issues, the first thing to say is that those should take priority. If she is in contact with medical services to support her for that, then it may make sense to get in touch with them.. If not, then in their various ways her students union, the Samaritans and so on may be able to help. And don't forget to look after your own health!

Moving on to the train fare issue, it's important for you and your daughter to know the worst that can happen: and that is that she may face a financial penalty (yes, I know, terrible wording but bear with me). If the matter goes to court and is dealt with by the bylaws, the only punishment allowed is a fine. If the charge is under RORA, imprisonment is theoretically possible but I understand that the sentencing guidelines don't allow imprisonment - and in practice people are not sent to prison for railway fare offences. So it would be a fine again. For both byelaw and RORA offences, there will also be compensation (the train fare that should have been paid), court costs and prosecution costs to pay. I appreciate that money is tight, but it's still money and not prison.

If your daughter can settle out of court, this again will be money, but probably less than a court would charge.

So how should your daughter respond to the letter? There's good advice here: https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/southeastern-bylaw-report.220878/post-5256014. It seems to me that if this is the first time your daughter has done this, there's a good chance that she will be offered an out of court settlement. If, somehow, she can pay that, then that will be the end of the matter - no court case, no criminal record, and no further stress.
 

Hadders

Established Member
Senior Fares Advisor
Joined
27 Apr 2011
Messages
9,123
Welcome to the forum.

Below is the advice I normally give to people who have been caught in similar circumstances and who post here seeking advice.

I'm pretty certain that the letter you have received from the train company (or an investigation company acting on their behalf) says that they have received a report, are considering prosecuting you and asking for your version of events. The mention of court costs is normally mentioned as an example of what can happen should the matter end up in court, and at this stage it doesn't normally mean the decision has been made to prosecute. It is important that you engage with and reply to this letter. You might want to include the following in your reply:

- That you are sorry for what has happened
- What you have learned from the incident
- That you are keen to settle the matter without the need for court action
- Offer to pay the outstanding fare and the train company's administrative costs in dealing with the matter

Make sure your reply is short and concise, don't give a sob story - they've heard it all before. Most train companies are usually prepared to offer an administrative settlement (commonly known as an out of court settlement) to people who engage with the process and who haven't come to their attention before. There is no guarantee of this, and the train company is within their rights to prosecute you in the magistrates court, however harsh this may seem.

If you are offered a settlement the amount varies depending on the train company and circumstances but tend to be around a hundred pounds plus the outstanding fare. An out of court settlement might appear to be a fine, but it isn't and you won't have a criminal record as a result of accepting one.
 

WesternLancer

Established Member
Joined
12 Apr 2019
Messages
4,065
Hello,
My 19 year old daughter is a university student in Manchester, but she's living at home for the summer. For context, though I don't think it's going to affect the outcome in any way, she has very severe mental health issues that started when she was very young, including depression and suicidal thoughts. It's very very hard to get through to her or get the full facts as to what happened because she's been in quite a bad way ever since she did this (which, don't get me wrong, she has no one to blame but herself!) and texts me worrying about whether she'll go to prison every other day ;) bless her.
She's been struggling a lot with money, as any student would- I'm out of work at the moment so I couldn't lend her the train fare she ended up evading, which just makes me feel like a rubbish mum to be honest, but what's done is done. So some time a few weeks ago, she applied for a job at a pub back near where she lives at university and decided that if she got it, since she'd only be working in the day time she'd start taking the train back and forth rather than moving back to the city until the tenancy at her new university house begins (sodding student landlords making kids pay half rent for a house they can't even move in to!!!). On the day of her interview, she took the bus from our home station to Bradford Interchange. This is where her quite frankly very stupid attempt to save a bit of cash started:
She bought some sort of ticket to get on the train, obviously from some station much closer to Bradford, then when she got off, she bought another cheaper one from a station close to Manchester. She said one of her friends did it all the time and nothing ever happened (kids, eh?) and she didn't have enough for the train so she might as well try (silly girl!!!). I'm not sure of the exact stations, I've never been to Manchester on the train, and she downright shuts down and sobs if I try to ask her (and I'm not going to send my child into a full blown mental health episode over some train tickets, so I've stopped prying). Of course, at Manchester, she got caught, which is only right I suppose- though it'll be a very very expensive lesson to learn! Where it gets worse is that the silly girl, not knowing how much trouble she was in, told the officer at the station she'd come in from somewhere close to Manchester AGAIN, and she said this was the station the man wrote on his report. What's more is, the two tickets she ended up buying to save money came to almost the same cost as buying a bloody ticket in the first place!!! I'm absolutely baffled, and feeling like a really rubbish parent for not just sending her the money that day, to be honest. I have no idea what excuses she gave as to where or why she got on, she absolutely will not budge and I don't want to cause her any more upset than she's already feeling, really. I probably won't even know until I read through her letter!!
We've come to the conclusion that whatever punishment she's going to get will probably be the harshest possible, considering all the things she did wrong:
- False ticket
- Overstaying (? Is this the right term)
- Another false ticket
- False origin station

The question is, is there much point in further incriminating herself in the letter? I've told her yes, as they can probably look at CCTV any time they want. She's never done anything of the sort before because I have always been able to help her out. Obviously her job interview didn't go too well considering she was so upset, so everything was very worst-case scenario here! :( I'm encouraging her to just be as honest as she can in the letter and apologise as much as she can, since it's obviously going to court whether she likes it or not, and she is VERY apologetic. I know what she did was really bad and trust me, she knows too, you don't have to tell me twice! I'm just trying to protect my little girl's sanity here, though, above all else. Her dad's not very present in her life but has offered to help her in the future with money for things like travel whilst I'm still searching for a new job so she doesn't have to resort to stuff like this (though I doubt she ever will!). He will also help her with any fines and things, though it took a lot of effort to even get ahold of the man, so please no comments about "why didn't dad help then"! The letter cites Should legal proceedings be invoked, in addition to any fines imposed by the court, there will be an application for a minimum of £150 as a contribution to our costs. It also mentions that Regulation of Railways Act and Railway Byelaws apply. I just need a bit of help in helping her to write her letter, really, because she's absolutely distraught and already very poorly in her head, which I do appreciate that Northern will not care about hearing, but quite frankly, as her mum, is ALL I care about, first and foremost!!! It might sound silly to some that she's this worked up about a train fare, but if you could see her in front of you, you would understand!! I can post the letter she got if needs be. Thanks so much everyone for your help,

Andrea xx :lol:
Hi - good luck with this - FWIW don't criticise yourself for bad / unhelpful parenting here - I actually think (maybe I'm harsh) that bad parenting (well not 'bad' but you know what I mean) is parents who keep bailing their kids out when they make mistakes. I think kids need to learn a bit from their actions and I'm 100% sure your daughter will have done so over this. Having said this I totally recognize what you say ref your daughter's stress / mental health issues and wish her well, and of course understand you want to support her as much as possible.

I'm convinced it will be possible to sort this out without worse case scenario although it will probably costs a few quid.

Great advice up thread on way forward. Best help you can give your daughter now is to make sure she engages with the railway at every step, and help her draft the apology letter as per @Hadders post. Get that ready ASAP. As others have done on other thread, post it her (without personal details or ref numbers etc) and people will help get that right for your daughter and yourself.

She's made an error of judgment, took poor advice from a friend, will no doubt have learned from it etc, so the best thing to do is to help her move forward, as I'm sure you want to do.

Good luck and of course head back here for help at each stage as you need it.
 

ayp2017

New Member
Joined
6 Aug 2021
Messages
2
Location
Yorkshire
Hello everyone, thank you very much for your prompt responses!! I've finally managed to sit my daughter down and explain exactly what might happen using the advice you have given me, which has calmed her down considerably (no more midnight text messages about going to prison :lol:). Now that I actually know exactly what's happened and where she took the train from, it's obviously easier to understand what's going on... She has, however, been avoiding taking the train at ANY cost, which I've told her is silly considering she'd never do what she did again so has nothing to worry about! She does English and Linguistics at uni so (at least in my opinion) it reads a little bit overly wordy or even too formal, so if anyone agrees and there's any help you can offer in that respect I welcome it with open arms!!! I also told her that I'm not sure if the "bad advice from a friend" bit is really worth mentioning since she did make the decision herself in the end and can't really 100% blame her friends... But that's just me, I'm not the one in trouble after all :lol: Really appreciate your kind words regarding my little girl's mental health, we are exploring as many avenues as possible whilst I secure work again to make sure she is alright :smile:
Here is the letter she has written, I have obviously taken out station names and things now that I know them... The letter she got in the post says she can send her response by email, is it better to handwrite and post or just email as she has handwriting that is quite difficult to read?

I deeply regret my actions of the 29th of July and wish to apologize to all those concerned. On the date of the incident in question, I was taking the train to Manchester Victoria to attend a job interview, and upon some really terrible advice and a struggle with money, I made the deeply regrettable decision to purchase a ticket from [Station A] to [Station B], then a ticket from [Station C] to Manchester Victoria. Upon being questioned, I told the officer I had come from [Station D] in a panic- I'm incredibly sorry for doing so, and I'm putting it all down here just in case, as I wouldn't want to cause any further inconvenience or harm. I know how wrong of me it was to buy the wrong tickets to save money and to lie about my origin station, and I appreciate that it has considerable repercussions for both Northern and the taxpayer alike. I will absolutely never do anything like this again, it was the stupidest mistake I could have made for the sake of saving a small amount of money. I take full responsibility for my actions and would like to once again apologize: I am very regretful for the loss of revenue and any harm I may have caused. I would very much appreciate the opportunity to settle this matter out of court by way of a fine / by paying for the ticket and any administrative costs that Northern may have incurred during our correspondence.
Kind regards,
[Andrea's Daughter]

Thank you all very much again for all your help! If there's anything important missed or anything that can be reworded then do let us know. She in theory has another week to respond but we obviously want to get it over with as fast as possible, it's starting to get to the time of year where we are looking at getting her ready for another year of university again and hopefully she'll be feeling much better by then, and will have rightfully faced the consequences and learned from them!!
Andrea xx
 

WesternLancer

Established Member
Joined
12 Apr 2019
Messages
4,065
Hello everyone, thank you very much for your prompt responses!! I've finally managed to sit my daughter down and explain exactly what might happen using the advice you have given me, which has calmed her down considerably (no more midnight text messages about going to prison :lol:). Now that I actually know exactly what's happened and where she took the train from, it's obviously easier to understand what's going on... She has, however, been avoiding taking the train at ANY cost, which I've told her is silly considering she'd never do what she did again so has nothing to worry about! She does English and Linguistics at uni so (at least in my opinion) it reads a little bit overly wordy or even too formal, so if anyone agrees and there's any help you can offer in that respect I welcome it with open arms!!! I also told her that I'm not sure if the "bad advice from a friend" bit is really worth mentioning since she did make the decision herself in the end and can't really 100% blame her friends... But that's just me, I'm not the one in trouble after all :lol: Really appreciate your kind words regarding my little girl's mental health, we are exploring as many avenues as possible whilst I secure work again to make sure she is alright :smile:
Here is the letter she has written, I have obviously taken out station names and things now that I know them... The letter she got in the post says she can send her response by email, is it better to handwrite and post or just email as she has handwriting that is quite difficult to read?

I deeply regret my actions of the 29th of July and wish to apologize to all those concerned. On the date of the incident in question, I was taking the train to Manchester Victoria to attend a job interview, and upon some really terrible advice and a struggle with money, I made the deeply regrettable decision to purchase a ticket from [Station A] to [Station B], then a ticket from [Station C] to Manchester Victoria. Upon being questioned, I told the officer I had come from [Station D] in a panic- I'm incredibly sorry for doing so, and I'm putting it all down here just in case, as I wouldn't want to cause any further inconvenience or harm. I know how wrong of me it was to buy the wrong tickets to save money and to lie about my origin station, and I appreciate that it has considerable repercussions for both Northern and the taxpayer alike. I will absolutely never do anything like this again, it was the stupidest mistake I could have made for the sake of saving a small amount of money. I take full responsibility for my actions and would like to once again apologize: I am very regretful for the loss of revenue and any harm I may have caused. I would very much appreciate the opportunity to settle this matter out of court by way of a fine / by paying for the ticket and any administrative costs that Northern may have incurred during our correspondence.
Kind regards,
[Andrea's Daughter]

Thank you all very much again for all your help! If there's anything important missed or anything that can be reworded then do let us know. She in theory has another week to respond but we obviously want to get it over with as fast as possible, it's starting to get to the time of year where we are looking at getting her ready for another year of university again and hopefully she'll be feeling much better by then, and will have rightfully faced the consequences and learned from them!!
Andrea xx

Pretty good work on the draft, tho I reckon she should go with her name instead of 'Andrea's Daughter' :lol:

Maybe think about this for amends, (plus insert para breaks - easier to read in a hurry) eg - ameds in bold / strikethru. Just my thoughts of course.

Personally I would e-mail it and also send a copy registered post (handwritten or printed out and signed if you have access to a printer) to be on safe side
Good luck


I deeply regret my actions of the 29th of July and wish to apologize to all those concerned. On the date of the incident in question, I was taking the train to Manchester Victoria. to attend a job interview, and upon some really terrible advice and a struggle with money,

I made the deeply regrettable decision to purchase a ticket from [Station A] to [Station B], then a ticket from [Station C] to Manchester Victoria. Upon being questioned, I told the officer I had come from [Station D] in a panic- I'm incredibly sorry for doing so, and I'm putting it all down here just in case, as I wouldn't want to cause any further inconvenience or harm. I know how wrong of me it was to buy the wrong tickets to save money and to lie about my origin station, and I appreciate that it has considerable repercussions for both Northern and the taxpayer alike.

I will absolutely never do anything like this again, it was the stupidest mistake I could have made for the sake of saving a small amount of money. I take full responsibility for my actions and would like to once again apologise: I am very regretful for the loss of revenue and any harm I may have caused. I would very much appreciate the opportunity to settle this matter without it having to go to court by way of a fine / by paying for the ticket and any administrative costs that Northern may have incurred during our correspondence and whilst investigating this matter.
Kind regards,
[Andrea's Daughter]
 
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