A PASSENGER launched a violent attack on a taxi driver as he drove 70mph along a dual carriageway.
Anthony Coyle, of Maritime Crescent, Peterlee, headbutted and then punched the cabbie, knocking his glasses from his face, as they travelled down the A19.
Hartlepool magistrates heard the 25-year-old had booked the taxi from Peterlee firm, Red Line Taxis, to travel from the Horden Labour Club to Middlesbrough.
The driver, from Crimdon, arrived at the club just before 8pm to collect Coyle.
Coyle asked him to stop off at an off-licence where he bought a bottle of wine to drink on the journey.
But as the taxi travelled along the A19, Coyle started banging on the dashboard.
When the driver asked him to stop, Coyle launched towards the driver and headbutted him.
The yob then punched him to the left side of the face, knocking his glasses off.
The taxi driver pulled off the A19 and into the car park of a pub, where he went inside and phoned police. Ten minutes later, Coyle went into the pub and the taxi driver got back into his car and drove off.
Prosecuting, Joanne Hesse told the court: “He suffered soreness to the head and said he wouldn’t be seeking medical treatment at the time, but would if necessary.”
Coyle, pleaded guilty to the assault by beating charge, which happened on April 6.
The court also heard that at the time of the offence he was subject to a community order for assaulting a police officer, and has other public order offences on his record.
Chairman of the bench Keith Kitching adjourned sentencing Coyle until Monday next week for the completion of a report by the Probation Service.
The defendant’s solicitor Alex Clancy did not offer any mitigation on her client’s behalf at this stage.