Taxi pas­sen­ger with knife jailed

Driver says he felt threat­ened af­ter blade pro­duced

East Kilbride News - - NEWS - Court re­porter

A taxi pas­sen­ger who pro­duced a knife af­ter com­plain­ing about the £25 fare be­tween Strathaven and East Kilbride has been jailed for 18 months.

Qa­mar Fariyad said Dou­glas Ross held the blade at his neck and he felt so stressed he was sure he was go­ing to suf­fer a heart at­tack.

Ross (43), de­nied as­sault­ing and rob­bing the 30-year-old driver.

On the sec­ond day of the trial the charge was dropped af­ter he ad­mit­ted threat­en­ing or abu­sive be­hav­iour which in­cluded shout­ing and swear­ing re­peat­edly at the cab­bie and pro­duc­ing the blade.

Mr Fariyad, of Mother­well, told the jury he picked up Ross from an ad­dress in Kirk Street, Strathaven, late one night last Septem­ber.

He was go­ing to the Lind­say House home­less unit in East Kilbride to see if he could find a bed there.

Mr Fariyad told Cal­lum Forsyth, pros­e­cut­ing: “He asked how much I would charge and I said £25.

“He told me he would pay be­fore we left. We were just chat­ting and then when we left Strathaven and were on a dark road he asked if he could use my phone. I gave him the phone and im­me­di­ately he started swear­ing and scream­ing at me, ask­ing why I was charg­ing £25.

“Then he took a knife and held it very close to my neck. I was very fright­ened. I said I was a poor man work­ing day and night for my fam­ily and I would give him back his money.

“He told me to for­get about it, but he kept the knife at my neck. He was threat­en­ing me and bang­ing on the dash­board. I felt I was go­ing to have a heart at­tack.”

The cab­bie said he even­tu­ally reached East Kilbride town cen­tre and man­aged to get him out of his taxi. He said Ross walked to­wards Lind­say House in Kit­toch Street.

Ross, a pris­oner at HMP Ad­diewell, also ad­mit­ted il­le­gal pos­ses­sion of a knife at the home­less unit, shout­ing abuse, de­mand­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion there, pro­duc­ing the knife and threat­en­ing to harm him­self.

De­fence agent Charles Fer­gu­son de­scribed his client as a Jekyll and Hyde char­ac­ter. The solic­i­tor ex­plained: “He lives with his part­ner and is usu­ally in a full-time job. His life is set­tled and he plays golf in his spare time.

“How­ever, he has men­tal health dif­fi­cul­ties which re­sult in him us­ing al­co­hol and drugs, and go­ing off the rails. Anger man­age­ment is another is­sue and he has had coun­selling for this.”

Sher­iff Ray Small ac­cepted Ross had no in­ten­tion of rob­bing the taxi driver and the only per­son he planned to hurt with the knife was him­self.

But the sher­iff added: “It is still an of­fence to have a knife in pub­lic and you were on a com­mu­nity pay­back or­der for hav­ing a knife when this hap­pened.

“Cus­tody is the only ap­pro­pri­ate sen­tence and to pro­tect the pub­lic from se­ri­ous harm when you get out there will also be a nine-month su­per­vised re­lease or­der.

“You must at­tend for al­co­hol or drug coun­selling as di­rected and if you breach the or­der you will be re­turned to pri­son.”

The 18-month sen­tence was back­dated to Septem­ber 19 at the sen­tenc­ing at Hamil­ton Sher­iff Court.

He was threat­en­ing me and bang­ing on the dash­board. I felt I was go­ing to have a heart at­tack

Jail term Ross ap­peared at Hamil­ton Sher­iff Court

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