Robber is 
 jailed for hijacking minibus

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A taxi driver has been praised for his bravery after he tried to follow two robbers who had attacked a minibus driver and driven off in his vehicle.

Jailing one of the robbers, Leon Gordon Fitzhenry, for four and a half years at Leeds Crown Court yesterday, Judge Rodney Jameson ordered Quarban Ali to be given £100 from public funds.

“He showed remarkable tenacity in the circumstances, disregarding personal danger to himself,” he said.

Geraldine Kelly, prosecuting, told the court the victim of the attack, Gary David, had fallen asleep in his vehicle which was parked in the Beeston area of Leeds on the night of June 18.

He was woken by two men getting in beside him, one into the driver’s seat and the other on the passenger side with him caught in the middle.

He was punched as the vehicle moved off and they demanded his money. He was told the blows would get harder if he did not hand it over.

Miss Kelly said Mr David tried to escape by flinging himself over the passenger and out the door, even though the vehicle was moving, and ended up dangling out of it scraping his hip and back on the road surface.

His attackers stopped the vehicle and as he fell to the kerb they got out and began kicking and punching him before stealing his wallet containing around £40, mobile phone and other items then driving off in the minibus.

Mr Ali had witnessed some of what happened and decided to follow them and did for some distance until they pulled up at a pub and warned him off.

The bus was subsequently crashed into a wall in Barton Terrace where Fitzhenry was arrested and the stolen items recovered. The other man escaped.

Mr David suffered facial injuries as well as abrasions on his back and hip.

Fitzhenry, 34, of Barton View, Beeston, admitted robbery and aggravated vehicle taking. His lawyer, Robin Frieze, said he had a good job and his own home until he became addicted to heroin.