Man jailed for photographing, trying to choke woman on Melbourne train

Paul Dowsley

A violent father who tried to choke a woman on a busy peak hour train in Melbourne has been jailed for four months.

Other passengers ignored their own safety to come to the victim's aid after she was viciously grabbed by the throat and shoved backwards.

The incident happened during what was supposed to be a quiet trip home on the Ringwood line.

Wayne David Smart can be seen on the train's CCTV footage sitting in the back carriage, seemingly taking photos of strangers.

Mr Smart approached a woman on the train, leaning into her face. Photo: 7 News

At one point he launches himself at a woman, staring at her from centimetres away, then focuses his attention on another woman.

That woman told 7 News: “I asked him to stop and I thought he had”.

“He was very obviously taking my photo, you could see the flash. And that really bothered me. I thought, this man is agitated, intimidating, he seemed violent.”

So she challenged him.

The victim grabbed Mr Smart's phone when she released he was taking photographs of her. Photo: 7 News

“So I made a decision, which was probably not the best decision, but I stood up and I took the phone from him. I held the phone away from him and I said I'm deleting that photo.

“Then he obviously snapped and grabbed me by the throat, and pushed me back against the wall,” she said.

Shocked passengers stepped in and placed him under citizen's arrest and one pressed the emergency alarm.

Passengers can be seen rushing to the woman's aid when Mr Smart grabbed her by the throat. Photo: 7 News

Mr Smart's lawyer, Mark Rawson, said he blamed his crimes on binge drinking.

"I asked him ‘why would you be taking photos of people on the train?’ He said I can't remember. He couldn't come up with any excuse or remember anything from the day," Mr Rawson said.

The court heard Mr Smart, who was supported by his father and partner, had an extensive criminal history and had been in jail before.

Mr Smart previously denied his actions to 7 News. Photo: 7 News

At an earlier court appearance, he was in denial when approached by 7 News and replied, “nah, not at all” when it was put to him that he took some photos of women on trains.

But on Wednesday, the 38-year-old pleaded guilty to the train attack and two incidents on other dates including drink driving while he was unlicenced and assaulting Protective Services Officers at Ringwood court.

The magistrate said they were serious crimes.

“I should be able to catch a train without worrying if someone is going to be violent,” Mr Smart's victim said.

“Because I catch the same train, same carriage, I sit in the same spot every time, and I do look for him.”

Mr Smart was jailed for four months but launched an immediate appeal.

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