Hammer attack taxi driver jailed after breaking Hull man's neck
A TAXI driver who attacked a customer with a hammer, leaving the victim with a broken neck, wept as he was jailed.
Pishtiwan Hamed, 32, got out of his Hackney cab to remonstrate with three customers after they refused to pay him because of his abusive behaviour.
Hamed initially threw a bottle of water at the group before taking a hammer from his car boot and assaulting Leslie Bowes.
Mr Bowes fell to the ground and suffered a broken neck.
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As previously reported by the Mail, he had to undergo a delicate operation to prevent him from being paralysed and had to wear a neck brace for three months following the attack on April 21.
Mr Bowes, 57, had been out drinking in the city centre with his sister, Judith Coates, and her husband, Antony, both of Market Weighton, prior to getting a cab.
Once in the vehicle, Mrs Coates was directing Hamed to her brother's address in west Hull, because he did not know the way.
The court heard Hamed became verbally abusive to her and Mr Coates demanded Hamed stop the car so they could get out and refused to pay him.
Hamed, of Clowes Building, Hull city centre, then followed the group as they walked away and attacked Mr Bowes.
Prosecutor Nick Adlington told Hull Crown Court: "This is a case where he abused his position of trust because he was a taxi driver.
"If people cannot travel safely in a Hackney carriage, who can they safely travel with?"
Hamed pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm.
His barrister, Anil Murray, said: "It was one blow after the complainant had taken a step towards him.
"There was a swing towards the upper body, he was not aiming at the head and it was with a blunt, rather than a sharp, instrument.
"This is not a man prone to hitting people for no reason. He had taken the passengers to the first address and they wouldn't pay him. Things went too far."
The Honorary Recorder of Hull and the East Riding, Judge Michael Mettyear, jailed Hamed for two years.
The judge said: "I have a lot of sympathy for taxi drivers, they tend to work hard in difficult circumstances.
"Sometimes they have disagreeable passengers, sometimes those passengers are drunk and abusive, even violent.
"That is well known, not only to courts but to taxi drivers as well. It is an unfortunate element of the job. That is why I take a firm view on people who attack taxi drivers and they are sent to prison.
"I seek to protect taxi drivers by sending out a consistent message but taxi drivers are in no special position so far as their own conduct is concerned.
"They may have to put up with a lot but they need to behave responsibly as well."
Judge Mettyear told Hamed: "It may be these three people in your taxi didn't behave entirely properly but neither did you. "You were disagreeable and abusive with them and got out to remonstrate with them. You used a weapon and the consequences of your blow were very serious indeed.
"Your conduct was wholly unacceptable."
Originally from Iraq, Hamed came to Hull 12 years ago.
He is married and the couple are expecting their first child at Christmas.