A MAN stopped a taxi driver fleeing as a friend attacked him – all because the cabbie refused to take more passengers than legally allowed.
Paul Welch was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court after jurors found him guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm at his trial.
Call the police and I’ll kill you... I will kill you right herePaul Welch
The 49-year-old had been out with his then-partner and a child and others on Boxing Day last year.
Handing Welch a 12-month jail term suspended for two years, Judge Linda Sullivan QC said: ‘You were the instigator of the appalling behaviour that went on that night.’
She added: ‘You wanted the taxi driver to take five people in a taxi and he was only licensed to take four.
‘You then did everything you possibly could to persuade him to take you.’
She added the jury found him not guilty of a racially-aggravated offence.
‘Nevertheless it’s quite clear that you were intent on making this taxi driver take you home when he was not prepared to do so,’ said Judge Sullivan.
The victim has been left scared of working at night and fears attacks after he had been pinned into his driver’s seat.
Judge Sullivan said: ‘Paul Welch was holding the taxi driver back in some way, using his body to hold him so he couldn’t get away from the young man who assaulted him and caused injuries to his face.’
She added: ‘By your actions you made sure he wasn’t able to get out or defend himself.’
The victim drove to a police station, but Welch said: ‘Call the police and I will kill you... I will kill you right here.’
Sumel Chowdhury, the taxi driver, suffered severe bruising to the right side of his head and a chipped tooth.
Welch, of Stanley Road, Stamshaw, Portsmouth, was convicted on September 3.
Robert Ashworth, defending, said Welch had been ‘caught up’ in the violence.
But the judge rejected this and said Welch was the instigator of the assault.
Mr Ashworth added: ‘He is a family man, it would seem a dedicated family man. He lives with his elderly mother, for whom he is now carer.’
Welch must complete 150 hours’ unpaid work, pay £400 towards the prosecution costs and pay Mr Chowdhury £600 in compensation.
The judge added: ‘He thought that Christmas was a time of goodwill –it certainly wasn’t as a result of your actions that night.’