Taxi driver attacked in bid to avoid fare
A Milford Haven man, who smashed a taxi window and attacked the driver to dodge paying the fare, has been given 18 months of community work.
Anthony Thomas, aged 22, of Great North Road, was arrested after smashing a taxi window and assaulting the driver to avoid paying the £71 fare that his girlfriend’s sister clocked up.
Thomas was pressured into doing whatever it took to get his girlfriend’s sister out of Milford Haven, where she was involved in a violent argument, the court was told.
David Weale, prosecuting, said that Thomas ordered a taxi to Neyland, armed himself with a piece of wood to frighten the driver, but decided to smash the window.
He said: “Mr Thomas had no intention of paying the fare, so he turned to criminal damage, and armed himself with a weapon.”
Jon Tarrant, defending, said the incident outlined an extreme reaction by Thomas.
He said: “When I asked him why he had done it, he just put his head in his hands.
“There are possible imbalances in the way he judges his relationships, he almost feels like he is trying too hard, or that if he doesn’t do what he’s told, his relationship will fail.
“Mr Thomas’ partner was screaming and hysterical, because she felt that something bad was going to happen to her sister.
“The majority of people would have dealt with the situation, and wouldn’t have taken that extra step.
“There is something in Mr Thomas’ psyche that prompted him to act in the manner that he did.”
Thomas pleaded guilty to assault by beating and to causing criminal damage.
He was given an 18-month community order, including 18 months of community supervision and thinking skills programme, by magistrates.
Magistrates also ordered him to compensate the taxi driver £200 for his vehicle and £100 for his injuries, and pay £60 costs.
Borough Green cabbie beaten by passenger tells of his ordeal
A BOROUGH Green taxi driver who was beaten and left to choke on his own blood drove himself eight miles to safety with smashed glasses and a broken nose.
Edward Bingle, 64, of Highview, Vigo, was allegedly assaulted after driving a customer home from the Vigo Inn, Gravesend Road, Fairseat, on October 8.
Mr Bingle claims his passenger punched him repeatedly in the face and left him unconscious.
“He said he’d had more to drink than usual but he was perfectly friendly,” the driver explained.
“Then during the journey his personality changed completely.
“He started calling me fat, swearing and shouting at me to drive faster.
“I kept going and tried to calm him down but he just got more and more angry.”
When the cab arrived in Tonbridge, the man refused to pay and got out.
Mr Bingle said: “He was shouting through the open window so I picked up my phone hoping he would think I was calling the police.
“He grabbed it and threw it into a tree, shouting ‘you don’t know who you are messing with’.
“Then he reached into the cab and started hitting me.
“It all happened so fast and hurt so much, I can hardly remember it.”
“When I came round I was choking on blood and it was all over my shirt and the side of the car.”
Mr Bingle radioed the Borough Green Taxi Service office to report the incident but was too scared to stay at the scene so drove back.
Controller Donna Derouel called the police and an ambulance.
She said: “I talked to him the whole way.
“His glasses were smashed so he couldn’t see properly and he was really shaken.
“When he arrived he looked like he had gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson.
“He had blood coming out of his nose and mouth – I was scared he was going to have a heart attack.”
Mr Bingle was taken by ambulance to Maidstone Hospital with a loose tooth, a broken nose, cut lip and two black eyes, and kept overnight.
He said: “My face is still really swollen so I have to have an x-ray next week to see if a bone in my cheek is chipped.
Mr Bingle is also suffering psychological effects from the attack. He explained: “I have never felt scared driving my cab before but I feel so vulnerable now – it was so unexpected and violent.”
Investigating police officer Rory Niblock said: “Taxi drivers can be very vulnerable and CCTV is a great way to deter criminals while making drivers and law-abiding passengers feel safer. In this particular case, the investigation is very much ongoing and we are continuing to follow up lines of enquiry.”