A taxi driver’s life may have been saved by the four layers of clothing he was wearing after he was stabbed near his heart.

His attacker was Gary Pearson, who planned out a knife-point robbery of the driver after booking the car under the false name of “Miles”. Nottingham Crown Court heard the driver had a knife held with its point to his neck after he was told to pull over at a bus stop on December 3 last year. The knife left a puncture wound as Pearson, who was wearing a mask, demanded cash from the terrified driver. The cabbie, who had just started his shift, said he had little money and handed over some banknotes from his trouser pocket. But Pearson responded “you should have more than that”, and the driver offered £20. Pearson was still unsatis-

fied and asked where his change was. The cash was produced from the door pocket in a cloth bag. Pearson demanded his phone too and

released his grip on the man to allow him to reach for the device. The driver then opened his door and escaped. He bravely attempted to kick and stamp at Pearson to keep him in the back of the taxi.

Pearson jabbed at him with the knife repeatedly towards his torso and he felt the blade connect with his chest area. One blow with the knife punctured his chest, leaving a two-centimetre wound that needed two stitches. Pearson, 34, from Nottingham, fled


A woman who bit a private hire driver twice in a racist attack has been spared jail after she claimed to have PTSD. Metro reports that Rebekha D’Stephano, 43, said she was suffering from the effects of her puppy being mauled to death by another dog when she attacked Jahangir Alam and called him a ‘P**i b*****d’ in a row over a fare.

She also punched him, and smashed his windscreen and rear-view mirror as she refused to pay when he dropped her off at her home in Salford, shortly after midnight on February 16 last year. When police arrived, D’Stephano, who had been out drinking, was having an argument with another cabbie about her son. She was told she faced a jail sentence for racially aggravated criminal dam- age and ABH. However, she told the


court that she was receiving coun- selling for the attack on her dog. Prosecutor Mr Zak Azim said the defendant had seven previous offences including

a similar assault and criminal damage offence in 2009. D’Stephano was sentenced to 26 weeks jail suspended for 12 months and she was also ordered to pay £700 compen- sation to the taxi driver.

Chairman of the bench Julian Fisher told her: “This is a serious case where you caused injuries to the victim and stopped the taxi driver from working. We are going to impose a suspended sentence, but you could have gone down for this.”

with £90 but was sniffed out shortly afterwards by a police dog guided by the scent from a woolly hat he had left at the scene. The animal, Police Dog Reno, led officers to a nearby ground floor flat. Entry was gained and Pearson was arrested on suspicion of robbery. At court on Friday, March 19, he plead- ed guilty to having the knife; robbery, and wounding with intent. Judge John Burgess sentenced him to ten years for the robbery and wounding with intent concurrently, and 16 months concurrently for having the knife. He extended Pearson’s licence period for four years on his release. The judge said it was extremely fortu- nate the driver was wearing four layers of clothing, including a showerproof jacket. “The wound was near his heart,” added the judge. “He considers the clothing may well have saved his life”. DCI Kim Binns, of Nottinghamshire Police, said afterwards: “This was a brazen frightening knife-point robbery that could easily have been a lot worse for the victim. Pearson posed as a typical customer as he climbed inside and sat in the back seat, even engaging in the kind of small talk that is typical of most taxi journeys. “He then held a knife to his victim’s neck in an attempt to steal just a small amount of cash. For that cowardly, impulsive but ultimately futile act he will now spent a very considerable amount of time behind bars. “Faced with the overwhelming evi- dence against him I am pleased that Pearson has accepted his guilt and hope he will use his time in prison to change the direction of his life. “I would also like to pay tribute to the fantastic work at the scene by Police Dog Reno and his handler. Thanks to bit of quick-thinking and one very power- ful nose we were quickly able to track down a violent and dangerous offender and bring him into custody.”

APRIL 2021

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