A PASSENGER who threatened a taxi driver with a knife and then drove off in his vehicle has been sent to prison for public protection after a judge described him as dangerous.
Haroon Shah got into the taxi in Otley and asked to be driven to Bradford on July 28 last year, Michael Smith prosecuting told Leeds Crown Court.
The driver, George Dobson, noticed on the journey that Shah was talking repeatedly and his behaviour gradually became more strange. He told Mr Dobson if he did not convert to the Muslim faith he would burn in Hell.
Mr Dobson was directed to an address in Howarth Road, Bradford, but when he pulled up Shah told him to get out of the vehicle. Mr Dobson tried to treat that lightly telling him: “This is where you get out of the car and not me.”
Shah said he would not let him go until he converted to the Muslim faith and to placate him Mr Dobson agreed but Shah then grabbed the car keys, produced a knife from his pocket and ordered him out before driving off.
Mr Smith said Shah was subsequently arrested and was on bail in September when he assaulted his wife, punching her in the eye after he had been drinking and not taking prescribed medication.
He was on bail for a second time on December 12 when officers in an unmarked police car began to follow him in Bradford because he was driving at 50 mph in a 30 mph zone.
They activated their lights but he failed to stop and went down Killinghall Road on the wrong side before going through a red light at the junction of Dudley Hill and Leeds Road,
He then accelerated up to 80mph through another red light forcing other vehicles to take evasive action as he returned to the Dudley Hill roundabout which he took the wrong way colliding with the front of an HGV lorry.
Shah ran off but was caught hiding on top of a nearby garage. He was also found to have had several children, aged 12 to 14, in his vehicle at the time of the chase.
Shah, 22, of Iqbal Court, Laisterdyke, Bradford was yesterday given an indeterminate sentence for public protection after admitting robbery, assault, dangerous driving and linked motoring offences.
Ordering him to serve a minimum of two years, Judge Jennifer Kershaw QC said they were serious offences. While a report indicated he was not suffering from serious mental illness he was considered emotionally unstable with signs of a personality disorder.