A taxi driver was attacked by a drunken city centre thug who tried to steal his car and called him a racist name. According to ChronicleLive, the victim was sitting in his vehicle on Newcastle Quayside when he was approached by John Armstrong and two other men. Newcastle Crown Court heard that Armstrong asked to be taken to South Shields just after 1am in July 15 2019 then suddenly attacked the cabbie as he looked up the location on his sat nav. Now Armstrong has been jailed for 40 months. Graham O’Sullivan, prosecuting, said: “The defendant approached the driv- er’s door and the complainant asked what he was doing. The defendant grabbed him round the throat with sufficient force that he struggled to breathe and began punching him repeatedly in the face. He tried to push him off and the defendant grabbed him by his top and pulled him out of the car. He landed on his knees and the defen- dant started to kick and punch him all over his body. He was on the floor try-

ing to defend him- self.”

As the victim tried to run away, Arm- strong jumped into the driver’s seat and tried to start the car. The cabbie came

back and tried to grab the keys from the ignition, at which point he had his thumb bent back with force. Armstrong, 26, then tried to get out of the taxi but the victim pushed the door closed. Mr O’Sullivan said: “The driver’s win- dow was open and the defendant put both of his feet through the open win- dow, trying to kick him in the chest so he would move and the defendant could get out. “The complainant grabbed his feet to stop him kicking and he tried punching the complainant. He kicked the car wing mirror causing it to crack. “The victim was shouting for help and asking someone to call the police.” He managed to keep the car door shut until police arrived to arrest him.

As he was taken to the police van, he shouted “He is a p***”“. Armstrong then lunged towards a police officer as if he was going to assault him and he was taken to the ground, swearing at police. The cabbie was left with soreness to his head and face and pain to his thumb, wrist, chest, neck and knees, grazes to his face and difficulty swallowing. His phone was smashed and the cost of repairing that and the wing mirror was £600. He had two months off work, which left him £3,000 out of pocket, and was left scared to do his job but had to return to provide for his family. Armstrong, who has previous convic- tions for wounding and excess alcohol, was subject to a suspended prison sen- tence for producing cannabis and abstracting electricity at the time. He pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, attempted theft, criminal damage, racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress and being in charge of a car while over the drink drive limit.


Drugged-up teenager Bradley Rush- ton pointed a gun at a taxi driver’s face during a terrifying robbery. The Stoke Sentinel reports that Rush- ton, 18, has been handed a three-year community order at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court. The Prosecutor said the defendant approached a busker in Fenton in November 2019 and threat- ened to kick his teeth in. That evening the defendant was in Blur- ton and waved down a taxi which Rushton approached the front passen- ger door. The driver wound down the window and Rushton shouted: “Get out the car” repeatedly. He opened the


passenger door, sat in the seat and told the cabbie to get out. He pulled out a handgun from his pocket and pointed it towards the driver’s face. He believed it to be real. The driver was screaming and pressed the car horn to alert passers-by. He managed to grab the gun. The two men grappledand the driver let go of the gun so the defendant used it to strike him across the forehead. The driver was covered in blood. He was left with a three-inch cut which needed three stitches. “The police arrived. The defendant got out the vehicle and ran off. Officers

caught up with the defendant who put the gun to his head and mouth and then to his head again. The police told him to drop the gun. The gun was recov- ered and was a ball bearing firing gun. The taxi driver’s phone was recovered from the defendant.” Rushton, from Stoke, pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of an imita- tion firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

As part of the community order Rushton must complete a six-month electronically-monitored curfew from 7pm to 6am and a rehabilitation activity requirement for 40 days.

APRIL 2021

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