Batley pair jailed for stealing taxi driver’s car

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A taxi driver was dragged from his car and punched in the face by two passengers who then drove off in his vehicle.

Leeds Crown Court heard yesterday Jonathan Barrett was subsequently involved in a police chase ramming a couple of vehicles before the taxi eventually stopped and was found to be a write off.

Michele Stuart-Lofthouse prosecuting told the court Scott Ormsby and Barrett were among four men who got into Muhammed Akhlaq’s VW Passat taxi late on December 1 last year after he had been asked to collect passengers from the Commercial Inn pub at Morley.

The front seat passenger handed over £20 for the fare naming a restaurant they wanted to go to but when they got to the Drighlington by-pass he was asked to stop and the three in the back got out.

The front seat passenger remained chatting to the driver and said they probably wanted to relieve themselves but they seemed to be conferring.

When they got back in something was said to the passenger about taking the car which caused immediate concern to the driver. He was then told to pull into a layby and at that stage the front seat passenger and one from the back got out and appeared to be arguing.

Mr Akhlaq was then punched in the face by Ormsby who remained in the back before he and Barrett pulled him out of the driver’s side and both hit him before they got back into the vehicle and Barrett drove off. They stopped to pick up the other two further down the road.

Their victim had swelling to his face and head and black eyes and was given painkillers at hospital. Meanwhile police on patrol had spotted the Passat in the Bradford area and signalled it to stop.

The driver did so but when officers got out to approach the taxi it was driven into the front nearside wing of the police vehicle and into another vehicle before it made off and was seen travelling on the wrong side of the road before the pursuit was abandoned.

However it was subsequently seen again in Centenary Way driving over the speed limit. Officers again followed but its lights were then turned off.

It was eventually stopped in Chester Street some 4.8miles from where it had been taken and the vehicle worth £3,500 was a write-off which added to the distress of Mr Akhlaq since it deprived him of his livelihood, she said.

The court was told at the time Ormsby was on licence from a sentence for burglary for which he has since been recalled. Both had previous convictions for robbery.

Barrett, 26 of Low Lane, Birstall, Batley was jailed for a total of six years and disqualified from driving for three years after he admitted robbery, dangerous driving and driving while disqualified.

Ormsby, 23 of Field Lane, Batley who also admitted robbery and asked for 14 other various offences to be taken into consideration was jailed for five years.

Bronia Hartley representing Barrett said he taken various courses during his last prison sentence and had done well initially after his release living with a partner in Heckmondwike and with a job as a plasterer’s labourer but when that relationship broke down he went off the rails.

He expressed genuine remorse for his actions that night which began as a genuine taxi journey but was an opportunistic offence.

Ian Brook for Ormsby said having also done well during his last sentence including detoxification from alcohol and Mcat he had sadly gone back to that drug when he got out on licence. He too expressed remorse.

Jailing the pair Judge Rodney Jameson QC said they had set about the driver after pulling him from his taxi causing him financial loss by taking his vehicle in addition to his injuries. That was followed by a serious case of dangerous driving.