An attacker high on drink and drugs hit a taxi driver on the head with a hammer before robbing him of cash to fund a 'six day bender.'
The Leicester Mercury reports that Jason Neal deliberately directed the unsuspecting cabbie to a remote spot at Loughborough's Park Road cricket ground to carry out the daytime attack.
The 48-year-old later pleaded guilty to robbery and possessing an offensive weapon on the afternoon of Sunday November 22.
It was the same day Leicestershire Police published an appeal for information on Neal's whereabouts, with his photograph, due to concerns for his welfare at that time.
Leicester Crown Court was told the defendant was on early release licence from a two year and 10 month sentence for a robbery at a newsagents in Loughborough, when the cashier was threatened with a hammer.
Andrew Howarth, prosecuting, said the latest incident happened when a self-employed taxi driver picked Neal up in Loughborough, at 1pm and took him to the cricket ground.
Neal's hoodie was pulled over his head and he was wearing a surgical mask.
On the way he confirmed that the driver could change a £20 note, to check the cabbie had cash on him.
Mr Howarth said: "As the victim turned into the driveway, he felt a blow to the left side of his head."
He stopped and turned to see the defendant holding a hammer, with a foot long wooden handle, and tried to grab it but the defendant pulled it away and said: "I want the money."
The driver handed over a linen bag containing between £25 and £30 but the defendant asked "where's the rest of it?" He was told that was all there was.
The injured cabbie driver got out and shouted for help but no-one was around.
Neal, formerly of Loughborough, eventually made off into nearby bushes leaving his partner's mobile phone and a scarf, with his DNA on, in the taxi.
The cabbie drove a safe distance before calling the police and went to hospital to have his cut head treated.
The police appealed for information on Neal's whereabouts and he was arrested at hospital the following day, where he was claiming to be the victim of an assault.
In interview he said he had been on a "six day bender" and had little memory of events.
In a victim impact statement the taxi driver said he had a week off work recovering on painkillers and although the amount of money taken was small, he struggled to replace it as business was down due to coronavirus.
"He felt scared it would happen again and was wary of certain customers, and had made inquiries about alternative employment," said the prosecutor.
Sentencing, Judge Philip Head said: "You have 71 offences on your record, overwhelmingly for dishonesty and I'm confident most of those were due to drug addiction.
"This involved significant planning and the victim was directed to an isolated location.
"In 2018 you threatened the use of a hammer in a shop robbery.
"On this occasion you used a hammer to hit your driver who was providing a public service.
"You were intoxicated or drugged, or both.
"You targeted a vulnerable person because taxi drivers are known to have money on them and they work alone."
Neal was jailed for four and a half years.