A taxi driver suffered a terrifying 30-minute ordeal when he was ordered to drive around a passenger who claimed to be a gangster at knifepoint.
Leeds Crown Court heard yesterday Alan Nawzad had collected Calvin Peter Crosse from outside HD Cars in Cross Church Street, Huddersfield, in the early hours of March 10.
Crosse who sat in the front passenger seat, was bleeding from an injury on his left cheek and was eating a takeaway and drinking from a can. He was immediately aggressive and told the driver he was “a gangster”.
But it was in Bradford Road when he saw a police van behind the taxi he suddenly produced a knife and held it to Mr Nawzad’s throat, ordering him to “drive”.
Martin Sharpe, prosecuting, said Mr Nawzad was told to drive around the Fartown and Deighton areas of Huddersfield, while fearing for his life. During the journey Crosse punched him to the back of his head and shoulders.
At one stage they saw the police van again and Mr Nawzad put on his hazard warning lights hoping to be spotted but was not seen.
Crosse told him to stop in Woodham Avenue where he said he was going to kill him but was then directed to drive off again.
Mr Sharpe said Crosse then suddenly pulled on the handbrake, causing the car to spin. When it came to a halt he once more held the knife to the driver’s throat at which point the terrified Mr Nawzad and Crose demanded money. After handing over £150, Mr Mawzad managed to get out the vehicle and fled after calling his base for help.
Crosse also left the area but was linked by DNA to the drink can he left in the taxi and also through CCTV footage at a takeaway near the taxi firm where he his cheek was injured in a skirmish.
Adam Birkby, representing Crosse, said he was under a suspended sentence at the time for driving offences and had panicked when he saw the police van.
He had drunk a “staggering” amount and wanted to publicly apologise for his actions to the driver.
Crosse, 25 of Riddings Close, Sheepridge, Huddersfield, was jailed for a total of four years and three months after admitting having an offensive weapon, making a threat to kill, theft and breach of the suspended sentence.
Jailing him Judge Guy Kearl QC said the taxi driver was vulnerable because he was alone, simply doing his duty as a public servant.