A taxi driver who launched a ‘ferocious’ attack on two passengers using an iron bar has been jailed.
Nabeel Iqbal, who worked for Max Cabs, and another man attacked the men with the weapon and ‘what looked like a wheel brace’ following a falling out in his car, a court heard.
Burnley Crown Court was told that a short time after the row Iqbal and another unknown male approached the passengers on Owen Street in Accrington.
The court heard how the offenders chased one of the passengers Adam Wright and struck him causing him to fall to the floor. One of the males then said to another of the passengers, a teenager, ‘You’re next son’ before ‘briefly chasing him away’.
Prosecutor Mark Kellett said Mr Wright was ‘distressed, lying injured on the floor’ before the offenders chased and repeatedly struck the third passenger Joseph Silcock.
Both victims were taken to hospital and Mr Wright was treated for three days with a fractured left elbow.
Mr Silcock suffered a 3cm laceration wound to his head and abrasions to both elbows.
Iqbal, 25, of Countess Street, Accrington, pleaded guilty to two counts of wounding and was jailed for 32 months.
The court heard that Iqbal picked up the men in the early hours of June 28 last year after they had enjoyed an evening watching an England football game.
Burnley Crown Court heard the teen ‘seemed to make contact’ with Iqbal’s hair as he adjusted his head rest which caused the defendant to ‘become abusive’.
Mr Kellett told the court Iqbal said ‘Get off my hair. Don’t touch my hair. Don’t touch my f****** hair’ before Mr Silcock and the teenager started laughing as they ‘thought he was joking’. The court heard Iqbal then said ‘You won’t be [laughing] in a minute’ before the passengers got out of the taxi and walked away.
Sentencing, Deputy Circuit Judge Leslie Hull said: “In some way your personal space may have been invaded and it may be that you were entitled to feel yourself slighted in that way.
“What followed was completely and entirely out of all proportion. You returned to the scene shortly thereafter and had an accomplice with you who hasn’t been detected and carrying something resembling a wheel brace. It was a ferocious attack. What on earth possessed you that night? It’s inexplicable.”
Speaking after the hearing, Mr Wright said ‘justice had been done and we’re glad it’s over’.
Defence barrister Kevin Donnelly said Iqbal ‘struggles to offer an explanation for his behaviour’.
He told the court: “He is entirely realistic about the outcome of today’s proceedings and understands that a custodial sentence must follow.
“There’s little if any mitigation that can be derived from what occurred on that night.
“Clearly the level of harm caused was significant. It is an offence where his culpability is high.
“After what was a relatively minor altercation within the taxi during the journey there has been a degree of pre-meditation because he recruited a second individual, obtained weapons and returned to the scene.
“He expresses remorse to those who were his victims and struggles to offer an explanation for his behaviour on this occasion.
“He had worked as a taxi driver for about a year, often working night shifts and often having to deal with difficult customers. But that provides no excuse for anything of this nature.
“His only explanation is that he has reacted with a lack of control to the original altercation and in a way that was uncharacteristic from his point of view.”