Millionaire’s daughter, 15, 'stranded in London after rail staff refuse to believe she is a child'

Helena Horton
The inspector scrawled

A millionaire businessman has spoken out after claiming rail staff at London Euston refused to let his teenage daughter board a train home because they did not believe she was a child.

James Timpson, chief executive of Timpson Shoe Repairs, said 15-year-old Niamh was stranded alone after an inspector stopped her at the barrier as she went to alight the Virgin Trains service to Crewe, saying she looked too old for her ticket.

He tweeted about his anger, showing a picture of her ticket, which has "NOT A CHILD" scrawled across it.

Mr Timpson branded the company a "disgrace", and wrote: "Virgin Rail at Euston. Why do you stop a 15 year old girl at the barriers (who has a valid ticket) from traveling home.

"You say she has no ID to prove how old she is. It’s 7pm and she is alone now at the station. When did you have to prove how young you are? You are a disgrace."

Eventually, after hundreds responded to his tweet, staff allowed his daughter to board a train home.

He said: "Good news. Just picking Niamh up from Crewe station. Not a good experience at all of the Virgin Rail ticket inspectors at Euston. Be a kind and caring company please."

Virgin Trains said in a statement that they recommend children who a ticket inspector may deem to "look older" carry proof of age.

However, many have pointed out that children do not tend to carry ID with them, so may face being stranded.

Virgin Trains recommends passports are carried for proof of age, or a government-backed ID card such as Validate UK. A spokeswoman said: "Customers under the age of 16 are eligible for a 50 per cent discount on fares and we do recommend that if a child looks older then it may be appropriate for proof of age to be carried when travelling.

"We’re sorry for the experience of Mr Timpson and his daughter and we are in touch with them so we can look into this properly and offer a gesture of goodwill."

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