£3 fare threats

Preston Crown Court.
Preston Crown Court.
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A man who threatened a taxi driver with a 10-inch hunting knife because he did not want to pay the £3 fare has been spared jail after the judge said his behaviour was “bizarre and out of character.”

James Brogden, 36, had been drinking in Blackpool with another man when they hailed a cab driven by Andrew Yates outside the Galleon Bar in Abingdon Street in the early hours of February 13.

You think you can bully me. I will show you. I’ll slash your throat from ear to ear

Brogden’s friend asked to be dropped off en-route and paid £5 for the fare to that point.

Brogden then asked to be taken to his home address in Carleton Avenue.

Throughout the journey, Mr Yates - an independent cabbie who has worked as a driver for 20 years - said Brodgen was “drunk but very friendly and pleasant.”

But when he pulled up outside Brodgen’s home, the passenger said he did not have any money and asked if he could pay the following day.

When Mr Yates insisted on being paid there and then, Brogden said he would get some money from inside the house, but when he returned he was carrying a 10-inch hunting knife, and his demeanour changed.

Martineh Jabawi, prosecuting, said: “Brogden leaned into the car and pointed the knife towards Mr Yates’ face. He began prodding it towards him, and was swearing and aggressive.”

Brogden told Mr Yates: “You think you can bully me. I will show you. I’ll slash your throat from ear to ear.”

Mr Yates told his passenger he just wanted his money but made off in his cab as soon as he could.

When the police arrived, Brogden was found in the hallway of his house. He was arrested and the knife was found at the scene.

Frazer Livesey, defending, said there was no defence to the charges of making off without paying and making threats with an offensive weapon, to which Brogden pleaded guilty,

But he told the court his client had medical issues including epilepsy and Type 1 diabetes.

Mr Livesey said: “I am not saying these illnesses are behind the offending but they are debilitating. He is a hard working man.

“When he was presented with the behaviour in the police station he could not believe what he had done.

“It is not just him - the taxi driver described him as being truly pleasant then his demeanour changed over a £3 fare.”

Recorder William Waldon, sentencing, said there was a mandatory six month sentence for knife crime unless it would be unjust for him to impose it.

He accepted Brogden is a man of previous good character and said: “Whatever was going on in your head that night was, for you, entirely out of character.”

He handed Brogden a four month sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered him to undertake 20 day rehabilitation requirement with the probation service.