Taxi passenger with knife jailed
Driver says he felt threatened after blade produced
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