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Friday, 01 August 2014

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Two behind bars after taxi driver robbed at knifepoint

Two teenagers have been jailed after a taxi driver was lured to a house in darkness, threatened with a 10-inch knife and robbed.

One of them chased him down the street while the other stole his cab, crashing it into a wall and writing it off, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

Steven Hodgson and Jordan Armstrong, who were both 17 at the time, were sent to a young offenders’ institution, after the robbery in Whitehaven on March 13.

The court heard how the pair had downed vodka before planning the “terrifying event”.

David Farley, prosecuting, said that taxi driver Dean Dixon found the house – two doors from Hodgson’s home in Herdus Road, Whitehaven – in darkness when he arrived. He checked the details with his controller and was told to wait five minutes.

Hodgson then appeared with a 10-inch hunting knife and demanded cash.

“Mr Dixon ran off and he chased him for a short distance,” he said. “The driver called the police and when he made that phone call he heard a loud bang.”

He said that the driver realised the sound was his taxi being driven into the front garden in Tomlin Avenue after colliding with a lamppost.

When police arrived at the scene they found Hodgson in the passenger seat of the vehicle. Armstrong was arrested after he was found walking along the A595.

The court heard the vehicle was written off and the owner had lost £5,000 from the value of the car plus £150 in cash.

Hodgson, who turned 18 last week, lived in Herdus Road and had previously admitted robbery. He was sentenced to 28 months.

Armstrong, of White School Close, admitted taking the taxi, drink driving and driving without a licence and insurance and was given a 12-month sentence.

Brendan Burke, defending, said Armstrong suffered from post traumatic stress disorder after he was assaulted in 2010 and had suffered an unhappy childhood.

He said the incident followed a day of heavy drinking with his co-accused and he had no knowledge of the planned robbery but “took advantage of the situation”.

Mr Burke said that Armstrong was “clearly a troubled young man” who had been bullied during his recent time in custody at a young offenders’ institution.

Greg Hoare, defending Hodgson, agreed that the pair drank a large amount of alcohol before the robbery and said his client had suffered many disadvantages in life.

Recorder Mark Ainsworth said taxi drivers should be able do their job without fear.

He described the weapon as a “frightening knife” and was in no doubt that the victim was subjected to a “terrifying event”.

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