Guilty: Antony Patsalos faces jail for the attack on the taxi driver
Ayanie Nageye told jurors he was left in tears and had to drive himself to hospital with a broken jaw after Antony Patsalos launched the assault
A drunk black cab passenger who got in a fight with his driver after refusing to pay a £31 fare punched him so hard he broke his door.
Antony Patsalos, 25, wept as he heard he could be jailed for the assault on experienced cabbie Ayanie Nageye.
Mr Nageye, who has held a Hackney Carriage licence for eight years, had picked up Patsalos and his pals from a boozy night out in Clapham, southwest London.
The passenger had run up £31 on the meter, but instead of paying he insulted his driver, saying: “You taxi drivers are d*** heads.”
He then barked: “F*** off, I’m not going to pay you anything,” before launching the assault, the Old Bailey heard.
Mr Nageye told jurors he was left in tears and had to drive himself to hospital with a broken jaw.
Patsalos claimed it was the taxi driver who was the aggressor during the scuffle in Balham, south London, in the early hours of 8 June last year.
But the jury found him guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm by unanimous verdict.
Mr Recorder Lawrence Cohen QC adjourned sentencing until 2 October.
The judge asked the prosecution to obtain a medical report on the victim’s injury before he decided whether to send Patsalos to prison.
Mr Recorder Cohen said: “If it is a category two [greater harm] case I don’t have a lot of choice but if it is a category three case [lesser harm] then I do.”
The court heard Mr Nageye picked up Patsalos and two friends after they flagged him down on Clapham High Street at around 1am.
He dropped off a male passenger before driving on with Patsalos and a woman, Eva Shields, to Old Bridge Road, in Balham, south London.
Mr Nageye said he was offered just £20 of the £31 fare by Ms Shields before he let them both out of the cab.
He told the court an argument erupted as all three stood on the street before Patsalos punched him in the face as he tried to get back into his taxi.
“I started to go back to my cab to leave,” said the driver.
“He went to the back of my taxi and I never thought he was going to do anything. I was not expecting anything.
“Then I found out that he was preparing to hit me deliberately while I was opening the door looking down.
“I was trying to get in my taxi and he hit me on my jaw on the left so that shows I was opening the door.”
“I was crying. Immediately I called 999, I drove by myself to the hospital and they told me I had a fractured jaw.”
But Patsalos, who admitted he was drunk at the time of the fight, insisted he had done nothing wrong.
He claimed there was due to be a third drop-off in Clapham and the £20 had been Ms Shields’ contribution to the full fare.
“As I was getting out of the cab I was aware the taxi man then got out of his cab and he was being slightly aggressive in the way he was talking,” said Patsalos.
“I said to him I’m not going to not pay you, I just want to say goodbye to my friend.”
The defendant continued: “I did see that he took off his shoes, sandal type shoes, and placed them neatly underneath the taxi.
“I felt threatened at that point, I felt completely threatened when he took his sandals off.
“It was all very strange to me at that time. Then he said: ‘Are you ready to do this?’
‘I was scared at that point. I was scared.”
Patsalos told how a scuffle started when Mr Nageye stepped forward and grabbed him around the throat.
“It was a choke, it was if I couldn’t breathe. All of a sudden my defence mechanisms came out in my body and I grabbed out as well.
“It was more like a wrestling match at that point.”
The defendant said the tussle ended up on the ground before a resident came out of his house and split up the fight.
“Maybe there were punches thrown by both of us, but I didn’t throw the first punch,” he added.
Patsalos, of Macaulay Road, Clapham, in south London denied a single count of inflicting grievous bodily harm but was convicted after a three-day trial.