Man jailed for street attack

28 Sep 2017 09:00 AM

Alan Thomas [View Full Size]

A man has been jailed for attacking a taxi driver with a noxious substance in Newcastle city centre.

Alan Thomas, 24 of Bentinck Terrace, Elswick in Newcastle pleaded guilty to attempted wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and was handed a four year one month prison sentence at Newcastle Crown Court on Monday, September 25.

The assault happened on July 26, at 10.50pm when the 47-year-old driver was parked on Grey Street in Newcastle near Fitzgerald’s wine bar.  Thomas approached a table outside the bar and was seen to pick up and remove an ashtray.  The taxi driver told him to put it back and Thomas came over and there was an exchange of words.

Thomas then took a bottle out of the bag he was carrying and sprayed the taxi driver in the face with a noxious substance. The driver felt a burning sensation in his eyes and was aware of a chemical smell and he shouted for help.  Passers-by and staff from a nearby restaurant came to his aid and gave him water to wash his face and he received hospital treatment. Fortunately due to the prompt help he received he has not suffered lasting damage.

Police were called and Thomas was arrested a short time later.  Officers recovered the bottle used by Thomas and a forensic examination identified the contents as ammonia.

Chief Inspector Paul Knox said: "This was a cowardly attack on a taxi driver and Thomas clearly deserves this prison sentence. The court has shown that those who use such weapons should be put behind bars, to protect the public from further harm.

"I hope this sentence sends a clear message that those who may think about using such an offensive weapon that they will pay for the consequences of their actions by spending time in jail."