A Redditch man who threatened to kill a taxi driver with a hammer in a “terrifying incident” has been sent to jail for three years and four months.
Gary Hollis called for a cab in the early hours of May 1 this year and driver Samar Saeed, who had taken him as a passenger on previous occasions, took the fare, Worcester Crown Court was told.
Hollis, 47, who had been drinking, started to ask him what sort of a shift he had had and how much cash he had taken, Sarah Gerrard, prosecuting, told the court.
When the cab stopped at his destination, he said “give me all your money” to the driver, Miss Gerrard told the court.
Mr Saeed, a cab driver for 11 years, thought he was joking because he knew him and had taken him to work several times but when he turned round he saw Hollis was sitting in the middle of the back seat holding a hammer.
He again demanded money and Mr Saeed gave him £30 or £40 but he threw it back and said he wanted all the money.
Mr Saeed struggled with him to grab the hammer and Hollis punched him two or three times on the back of the head before putting his arm around his neck and trying to strangle him, she said.
He told Mr Saeed to switch off the engine and lights but he managed to push the emergency button to alert the cab company before getting out of the car. Hollis also got out and said he had been joking before running off.
Police called the number Hollis had used to book the cab and he gave himself up.
The court heard there had been no loss of money in the offence but in a victim impact statement, Mr Saeed said he was now scared to drive and had lost income because he did not work as much. He said he was “in dread” of evening and night shifts.
Hollis, from Redditch, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery. The court heard he had 22 previous convictions, including for violence and theft, and had previously been in prison.
Richrd Hull, defending, said Hollis had a problem with drinking. “Alcohol is the root cause of much of his offending and was a contributory factor on this day,” Mr Hull said. Judge Abbas Mithani QC said: “Those in his position are particularly vulnerable to behaviour of this nature and are entitled to expect the courts to take whatever action is necessary to protect them,” he said.