Reporter wins right to name train terroriser

Croydon Advertiser reporter Ben Ashford persuaded a judge to let his newspaper name a teenager who had terrorised train passengers.

William Solhotra was 15 when he committed nine robberies, mostly on trains, which included choking and headbutting children as young as 13 and threatening people with knives and a hammer.

At his sentencing in Croydon Crown Court, Ashford, who has only just qualified as a senior, challenged a Section 39 Order protecting Solhotra’s identity.

Ashford addressed the court and argued that the offences had been serious, often with threats of violence, on victims who were innocent members of the public.

Lifting the order, recorder Alan Baylis said a strong message should be sent to young people using the trains for criminal purposes. “Disgraceful behaviour” would not be tolerated, he said.

Advertiser editor-in-chief Ian Carter said: “Ben did tremendously well to get the order overturned. He had followed the case from its outset, and had been rebuffed at previous hearings. He was determined to persevere, and it is thanks entirely to his determination that we were able to name and shame Solhotra.”

Solhotra was sentenced to three years at a Young Offenders Institution.

By Dominic Ponsford

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