A man who subjected a 63-year-old taxi driver to a “terrifying” robbery by holding a knife to his throat and then broke a teenage boy’s jaw the next day has been jailed for five years.
Adam English, 20, became aggressive towards the driver after he asked him to pay up front for the journey before setting off.
English, of Coach Road Estate, Washington, and Courtney Allsopp, 18, had been with a group of friends on August 5 last year and became separated from the group while out in Concord, Washington.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that the pair rang a taxi at around 11pm, hoping to be taken to an address in North Tyneside.
Kevin Wardlaw, prosecuting, said that when the taxi arrived, English got in the front passenger seat and Allsopp, of Park Avenue, Concord, got in the back.
The driver then told English that he wanted to be paid up front - something Mr Wardlaw said he was entitled to do.
He said: “The defendant then began arguing with the driver and Allsopp got out of the car.
“The defendant then produced a knife, became aggressive and held it to the taxi driver’s throat.”
English shouted at the driver to hand over his money and held the knife to the left side of his neck - causing minor injuries.
Mr Wardlaw added that the victim had a “history of heart illness”.
English was in the process of stealing the taxi PDA system and the driver’s mobile phone when Allsopp returned to the car to rummage through the glove box.
The taxi driver then fought back and broke the blade of the knife - causing the pair to flee.
He managed to get to the Prestige Taxi office on nearby Victoria Road and reported the crime to a woman in the office.
In a victim impact statement, the driver said he had to take time off work through anxiety and stress.
English and Allsopp were arrested not far from the office after being seen by the woman in the area.
They were both released on bail the next day.
On August 6 Allsopp went back to the taxi office to see if the woman was at work - she was later charged with witness intimidation.
In a separate incident English was out on the same night and was caught on CCTV punching a 16-year-old boy who had been out with a group of friends.
He was punched once by English - who has 10 convictions for 14 offences including battery and assault - and suffered a broken jaw, resulting in four teeth being knocked out.
Graham Cook, defending English, said he had been having relationship problems and had taken a “cocktail of valium and alcohol” on the day of the robbery.
He said English was “very remorseful” for what he’d done to the taxi driver and had also made disrespectful comments to a passing woman, but was also accepted what he did was wrong.
Vic Laffey, defending Allsopp, said that she did not realise English had a knife or that anything had been taken, and had gone “off the rails” after recently leaving an abusive relationship.
He added that Allsopp was remorseful and wanted to leave offending behaviour of this nature behind her.
Allsopp pleaded guilty to robbery and witness intimidation, while English pleaded guilty to robbery and grievous bodily harm at a previous hearing.
Jailing English for five years, Judge Stephen Earl said the robbery was on a “public servant carrying out a public service”, and he had subjected him to a “terrifying situation”.
He sentenced Allsopp to two years in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered her to wear an electronic tag between 9pm and 7am as well as attending a 40-day rehabilitation programme.
The pair were also given restraining orders against the victims.