A DRUNKEN thug who claimed he cannot remember headbutting and punching a cabbie as he drove along a dual carriageway at 70mph has been jailed for 17 weeks.
But as Anthony Coyle was led from magistrates in handcuffs, he turned and said: “When I come out, I’ll be laughing.”
The 25-year-old, of Maritime Crescent, Peterlee, launched the attack as they were travelling on the A19, from Horden Labour Club to Middlesbrough at about 8pm.
He had been drinking and started banging on the dashboard of the cab, and the driver repeatedly asked him to stop.
As a result, Coyle first headbutted the driver before punching him to the side of the face, knocking his glasses off while travelling at speed.
The taxi driver pulled off the A19 and into the car park of The Windmill pub, at Dalton Piercy, where he went inside and phoned police.
Coyle, of Maritime Crescent, Peterlee, pleaded guilty to assault by beating at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court. Chairman of the bench Patricia Hutchison told him: “This assault took place on an innocent taxi driver doing a public service, doing his job, while he was travelling at considerable speed – 70mph.
“As a result of that, we are sentencing you to 17 weeks’ custody.”
Mitigating, Matthew Agar said Coyle, who has a “lengthy” record, was so drunk that he “had no recollection of the incident.”
He added: “Mr Coyle cannot remember assaulting the driver or the actual journey itself.
“Having spoken to him, he is very remorseful for his actions. He realises it was a stupid act on an innocent taxi driver trying to take him to his destination.
“It was carried out in drink and he was extremely intoxicated at the time.”
Mr Agar added: “Most of his problems have been caused by alcohol addiction, I think it’s right to say.”