Bogus taxi driver killed Sunderland woman after six-year cabbie con

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A BOGUS taxi driver was exposed as a conman after he knocked down and killed a pensioner who was crossing a road in Sunderland.

Investigations after the death of the 75-year-old pedestrian showed James Robson – who was wearing old, scratched glasses – had been posing as a cabbie for more than six years.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 61-year-old driver had forged his cabbies’ badge and convinced his bosses and members of the public he was fully licenced.

The fraudster, who had previously worked as a legitimate taxi driver for 14 years, had doctored old documents to make them appear up to date.

Checks carried out after the accident revealed Robson had not had an eye test for more than a decade and has since refused to have a specialist test carried out by the DVLA.

Prosecutors say his behaviour raises questions about his fitness to be on the road carrying passengers and what it is he has to hide.

Christopher Knox, prosecuting, said: “These matters only came to the notice of the court or police when in January this year, on the night of January 5, this defendant, driving his taxi, hit and killed a 75-year-old pedestrian.

“I make it clear that it is not proper or possible to say his driving was sufficiently at fault to justify any charge arising from that accident.”

Investigations after the tragedy revealed Robson’s documentation was forged and for years he had obtained insurance on that false basis.

He had not had an eye test since 2003.

The court heard Robson was tested by his local Specsavers and claims they found no problems with his sight.

But Mr Knox said: “The prosecution say there is question here as to why he was setting out fraudulently to evade the system, specifically aimed to find out whether he was fit to be driving a taxi.

“The real anxiety is there is something there he is successfully managing to conceal.”

The court heard as a result of Robson refusing the DVLA test to check his field of vision, he is not now allowed on the roads at all.

Ian Hudson, defending, said: “He is a fit and healthy man.

“He is not at fault in any way for the fatality and the road traffic accident which took place on January 5. That is not the subject of today.”

Robson, of Hazel Dene Way, Seaham, admitted six fraud charges relating to his documentation and obtaining insurance.

Mr Recorder Andrew Haslam adjourned the case for further inquiries to be made regarding Robson’s sight and for proof to be obtained about the results of the Specsavers test.

The judge said: “Why didn’t he have his eyes tested between March 2003 and March 2014? Why was he wearing old, scratched spectacles while driving members of the public in a taxi?”

Robson was allowed to keep his freedom until the case is back at court, but the judge warned “all options” are open for the sentence.