I've been holding out on posting here since the incident as I have been checking other topics, but now I would like to ask for advice.
I traveled on South West Trains on March 20th from Poole to Holton Heath (HH is unmanned and no barrier). I got to Poole train station and boarded without a ticket. I had previously purchased tickets a number of times on the actual SW train and have never been warned for doing so. Of course I have used ticket machines on platforms before, but that today was not one of those occasions.
The train was quiet, so I sat down and took out my wallet to prepare to pay. The train started moving and around halfway through the journey, two people entered my carriage. The inspector came up to my seat. I had my money already out at this point. I said to him "One single to Holton Heath please" and offered the money. They both sat down and then started asking me my personal information. I was confused and nervous, but cooperated fully. They both got off at the next station. One of them was asking me the questions, the other was my replies. I remember he said to me "Where would you have purchased your ticket if we had not come?". I was in a state of shock with the money still in my hand. I said "I wouldn't have been able to, but I was not intending to fare dodge". The thought had never crossed my mind. I have always been prompted for a ticket whenever I have traveled on SWT. I used to be a railcard holder for three years, and since the incident I have paid over £100 for train tickets.
They let me leave after I had signed the page and they said that I might or might not hear back from them. It has since been two weeks and no letter yet although of course the bank holiday does not count as working days.
I told my parents and they have been worried. I called up SWT shortly after the incident and the man said "If this is your first offence, you will just get a warning letter, just please try and get your ticket before you board". My mother has also emailed them, but they have not replied yet. Additionally, on my last train journey I told one of the conductors on the train what had happened and asked him what will likely happen. He said "you are likely to get a fixed penalty notice in the post plus the fare, do not worry about getting a criminal record".
After reading these topics, I am now much the wiser - I just wish ticket people on the train would have told me the consequences. I thought I was abiding by the rules just fine. I have since purchased tickets online and through platform ticket machines.
A criminal record would be devastating to me. I am on anti-depressants and I had tried taking my life earlier this year. In an effort to turn my life around, I hope to teach English in Japan this summer and prosecution would stop me from doing so.
I realise I have done wrong, on several accounts. I expect criticism and the worst case scenario, for it seems my life feeds off of misery.
I will update when I receive the letter for court summons.