Coffee House

Who is the Stonegate fare-dodger?

19 April 2014

Much speculation where we live about the identity of the Stonegate fare-dodger, one stop up our railway line. He recently paid £43,000 to Southeastern, the franchise holder, to escape criminal charges after five years of constant cheating on his daily commute to London. Obviously no suspicion falls on such fine local citizens as my fellow former editor of this paper, Dominic Lawson, who uses the station, or the great writer Adam Nicolson, or the distinguished actor Robert Bathurst. It would be appalling lèse-majesté if aspersions were to be cast on Paul Dacre, the editor of the Daily Mail, who lives nearby. The guilty man is reported to be a hedge-fund manager. There is anger that he has bought anonymity by paying up in full when caught. Because he is unnamed, all the no-doubt numerous, blameless hedge-fund managers who commute from Stonegate are being made to feel awkward. Television cameras film the station. Gossip keeps identifying suspects (‘Can’t be anyone from the village: must be someone from the Heathfield direction.’ ‘What about X? Oh no, can’t be him: he always goes by helicopter.’) Possibly the resentment is tinged with envy that he travelled free for so long. The fact that it costs £43,000 to go to London five times a week for five years is the most shocking part of the story.

This is an extract from Charles Moore’s column in this week’s Spectator. Click here to subscribe to the Spectator.

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Show comments
  • AndrewTurvey

    If he’s a hedge fund manager, why hasn’t the FCA been in touch with the helpful union leaker, found out who he was and banned him from the industry? I imagine theft on this scale would count against you as a “fit and proper” person.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “Who is the Stonegate fare-dodger?”
    I`ve got a water-tight alibi.
    Jack, Japan Alps

  • ilpugliese

    There’s something very dodgy about this story. Inspector checks are very frequent on our trains. I would estimate I get asked about twice a week to show my ticket. Suggesting this can be avoided for 5 years is not very credible.

    • Doggie Roussel

      That’s exactly what I thought…. every time I travel to London, it’s odds on that there is a ticket inspector… very fishy…

    • FF42

      :erhaps he had an unvalidated British Rail ticket to show inspectors on the train between Stonegate and London Bridge. As long as he didn’t pass it through the ticket barrier in London, he could keep it for subsequent journeys. He switched to an Oyster card to get through the barriers. I guess he was only caught by a suspicious ticket inspector following him for his entire journey.

      • FF42

        Carnet tickets. I couldn’t remember what they were called. You can buy six or ten at a time. They last for six months, but importantly for Mr X, they don’t have a date on them.

      • ilpugliese

        I can’t see any reference to carnets on Southeastern. FCC has them, but they have to have the date written on them before travel. Though I suppose he could have quickly done this if an inspector had come along, but it’s a bit risky that he could get than done in time.

        Also the annual season ticket from Stonegate to London Bridge is £4548 (second class) or £6824 (first), so I don’t know how that gets made up to £40K for 5 years, unless there are huge penalty charges.

  • Realpolitik

    Blame it on the rich, that’ll quench the people’s thirst of indignant jealousy.

  • Mrs.JosephineHyde-Hartley

    I bet he’s not on face ache/book.

  • LeoLeo

    £43,000 is the cost of buying a return ticket every day for 5 years. If he had purchased a season ticket the total cost would have been about half that.

    • HookesLaw

      So my comparative costs outlined below shows rail to be even better value. presumably he had to pay the full value as he was doing it in retrospect. Makes you wonder why he bothered in the first place. I know I and my wife pay or paid a lot of petrol money just for the privilege of going to work.

      • First L

        Rail is not good value. I live about four miles out from my city in Yorkshire.

        I can either take the train – 1h, not including the 20 min journey each way to the station. £3.50 return. £5 if I want to head over to anywhere else.

        Or I can drive – 20 mins. About 30p in petrol.

  • Tom Tom

    So did Paul Dacre volunteer his photofor this article or his libel lawyer on vacation ?

    • HookesLaw

      I am all in favour of sticking it to Paul Dacre but you expressed my thought exactly (feel free to wash your brain out with soap and water).

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “The fact that it costs £43,000 to go to London five times a week for five years is the most shocking part of the story.”

    Ain`t that the truth!
    As example, taking the commuter trail from Kamakura to Tokyo takes some 55 minutes and will cost 890 yen, one way. Five days a week return for five years would set you back 2.225 million yen. Knock off some 20% for a season pass, then convert into sterling gives some £10,500. You are being right royally ripped off Britisher Pals. Not like it`s HS2.
    Jack, Japan Alps

    • HookesLaw

      As LeoLeo points out the comparison is not that bad indeed it looks quite favourable. You look like you have exposed yourself as merely having the nous of a dumb journalist.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        The comparison is that rail travel is four times more expensive in rip-off UK. So suck it up Britisher pals if you lack the moral courage to “hate it and leave it”.
        Jack, Japan Alps

  • telemachus

    I think this is a belated confession Charles

  • The Laughing Cavalier

    Whoever he is, he is a thief.

  • In2minds

    “The fact that it costs £43,000 to go to London five times a week for
    five years is the most shocking part of the story” –

    And how much will HS2 cost? Just wait till all those useless MPs from the
    Midlands start billing the public for their ride!

    • HookesLaw

      45 weeks for 5 years. This is something like £38 for a return journey. About 120 miles return (google maps). By car? 30mpg. 4 gallons at £6/gallon? £24 ish. Plus parking (a fortune).
      The train is comparable.
      Indeed taking car costs of at least 50p /mile incl depreciation fuel and servicing insurance then the cost by car is £60

      • Darnell Jackson


        Wrong again.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Can you still buy petrol in gallons in Luddite UK?

        • HookesLaw

          ? Car efficiency comparison in the UK is given in MPG. Go back to sleep.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            However, petrol is sold in litres in mishmash UK.

  • Bellevue

    Ah, such happy memories…… Battle, Robertsbridge, Etchingham, Stonegate, erm, Frant, Tunbridge Wells. (have I got that right?) I commuted from Battle to Tun Wells when I was at school, and then years later I commuted from Robertbridge to Charing Cross for work. It was the most ghastly period of my life. It is a soul destroying pastime, and I dont know how so many of you continue to do it.

  • Tom Tom

    Must be hard paying £8000 pa as a Hedgie to commute. Surely they could put VAT up to 30% on food and medicines so Hedgies could travel free and spend more money on the ski slopes ?

  • Frank

    Dare one hope that the FSA / FCA is asking questions of Southeastern Railways? This man should be struck off.

    • Darnell Jackson

      Of course, why not ruin the rest of his life.

      You demonstrate everything that is vile about the left.

      • Kaine

        That an admittedly dishonest person should not be allowed to work with large sums of other people’s money?

        Shouldn’t the people in his firm be told so they can decide if they want to continue working with this man?

        • Darnell Jackson

          No, they shouldn’t be told.

          Where do you draw the line on honesty by the way? it’s an absolute concept as far as I can see.

          Are you honest? are any of us?

          This is a classic divide between right and left, we on the right show compassion and forgiveness whilst you on the left demand ever more spiteful revenge.

          It appears that because this guy is more successful than you he simply must be punished.

          Happy Easter.

          • Frank

            He is successful, but a crook.
            There is no political divide over this.
            I have every compassion for those who are in difficulty. This man faced no financial issues that compelled him to rip-off the system. He had the money to buy-off the impending prosecution, most people don’t have that option (yes indeed, one rule for the rich and one for the poor – so much for blind justice!).
            Perhaps he is just too stupid, arrogant and greedy to have such a senior job? Ah well, hubris always gets punished.

            • Darnell Jackson

              He isn’t a crook and no one has charged him with anything.

              As the Southeastern Rail spokesman (Rupert Atterbury Thomas) clearly states “there has been no admission of any sort of guilt” he also states that “Out-of-court settlement is something that people have a right to do in this country”

              So, this guy bought off nothing, he simply agreed to pay the sum dictated by Southeastern, as may anyone else.

              Perhaps it isn’t this gentleman who is stupid and arrogant.

              • HookesLaw

                An out of court settlement when someone is caught bang to rights saves the company some money. But he is guilty of evading paying, he was just not brought to court. Looks like the company made on the deal anyway.

                • Darnell Jackson

                  He isn’t guilty of anything.

                  Fortunately, we live in a country where someone isn’t just guilty because you say they are.

      • Frank

        I am not a leftie. As a senior hedge manager, he is a regulated and authorised person. He is guilty of theft and he should be struck off. He has no excuse, eg I was poor, and he is not some teenager who doesn’t know better. It was his choice, freely made, to try and rip-off the system. Most people are honest and pay their fares (and these people probably earn far less than this piece of excrement).

        • Darnell Jackson

          He’s guilty of nothing, please see above.

          Your vindictiveness marks you out as a Lefty.

          • Tim Nagle

            He may not have been found guilty in a court but paying the sum is an admission that he evaded paying in the first place.

            The company chose not to prosecute which is all well and good but his profession may take the view that he should not manage large amounts of money.

            If this same person was found to be taking money from the funds he manages, but when found out repaid what had been taken, his employer MAY choose not to involve the police. He may not be found guilty but may well lose his job.

            • Darnell Jackson

              No chance at all that this person will be dismissed over this issue.

              Whoever was responsible for leaking the story should be dismissed IMO.

  • David Booth.

    Wasn’t Cherie Blair pulled up a while back for travelling on a train without a ticket?

    • you_kid

      Will these wife swapping allegations never end? Osborne fair dodged for sure.

      • David Booth.

        What Osbourn and Cherie Blair wife swapping???? It gets worse

        • you_kid

          I finished one sentence and started another. What you then did was ignore that, rearrange the words and add a comma.

          • David Booth.

            Oh, thank goodness for that. You’re not by any chance my old English teacher?

        • First L

          Tony Blair and Wendi Deng.

          Murdoch called it off once he actually clapped eyes on Cherie.

      • Darnell Jackson

        Total bollox, Osborne asked to pay the upgrade to first class.

        Don’t you lefties have any shame?

        • you_kid

          Dear Lord – are you all from Grimsby or is it Miserden?

          • Darnell Jackson

            I’m from Truthville.

        • edithgrove

          Osborne had to pay £160 for fare dodging. Apparently even if you’re a multimillionaire the thrill of saving a few quid remains.

          • Darnell Jackson

            You lie.

            He paid the upgrade to first class willingly, in fact his aide sought out the train manager as soon as the train departed.

            The actual payment was £189.50 to cover both Osborne and his PA.

            Even the BBC covered this truthfully unlike you Liebor propaganda wallahs.


          • ilpugliese

            This happens all the time. You get on with a standard class ticket, but there are no seats, or you see friends in first class and go and join them, or you find you’re surrounded by drunken louts. You wait until the inspector comes along and pay for the upgrade. What else can you do?

      • David Booth.

        I’ve just checked and Cherie Blair was fined £10 in Dec 2000 on a Thameslink train.

      • First L

        Osborne paid.

        You’re thinking of Russell Brand who just admitted to jumping the barrier – to save time -despite having £15 million in the bank.

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