May 18, 2007

Blackburn taxi driver’s racist ordeal

A taxi driver was subjected to a frightening racist ordeal by a passenger who made a grab for him as he drove down the road.

Mumtaz Khan was abused by Steven Ashe who also ripped off his identity badge and put an arm around his neck. A judge described the incident as disgraceful when he sentenced 34-year-old Ashe to 12 months' supervision.

The defendant, of Christ Church Street, Preston, had denied an offence of racially aggravated common assault, but was convicted by magistrates and committed to Preston Crown Court for sentence.

Mr Khan, a driver for Intack Private hire in Blackburn, picked up three people near the Lotus garage in Rishton. He said the fare for drop-offs in Preston and Blackpool would be £40 to £45 and asked for the money up front. Ashe gave him £30 and said he would pay the rest later. During the journey Mr Khan could see Ashe looking at him in his mirror. Ashe said: "Don't give me evils or I'll rip your eyes out."

He insinuated that the driver was an illegal immigrant and added: "You aren't a proper taxi driver. Let me see your badge."

He ripped the badge off Mr Khan who gave him his money back and turned the vehicle around to go to the police station. Ashe then put his right arm around Mr Khan's neck to try and strangle him. He later took the keys from the ignition and threw them into a grass verge.

Judge Robert Brown said it had been disgraceful conduct. He told Ashe: "He could clearly have lost control and caused damage to yourselves or anyone else who was on the road at the time". Ashe was ordered to pay Mr Khan £200 compensation.

Blackburn Citizen

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