Thug jailed for stealing Sheffield taxi driver's phone and brandishing knife at him
A Sheffield taxi driver was subjected to a terrifying ordeal, when a drunken customer stole his phone and brandished a knife at him, a court heard.
The incident took place on September 30 last year, when defendant, Aaron Hammond, and a friend were taken to the Bradfield Road area of Hillsborough.
Hammond, aged 25, then walked up to the taxi driver's window and instead of paying the fare, as the driver expected, he reached in through the open window and stole his Samsung 7 phone, Sheffield Crown Court heard.
Louise Gallagher, prosecuting said: "The driver followed Hammond in his car and pleaded with him for his telephone back.
"Hammond approached the passenger side door this time and he approached the side window. He said: 'Okay, I'll give you your phone back'.
"He pulled out a knife, which was at shoulder height. He opened the door and lunged towards the driver."
The driver subsequently drove off. In addition to stealing the driver's phone, which was valued at £600, Hammond also stole the man's mobile phone holder.
Hammond's offending continued at around 6.50am on October 5 last year, when Hammond exited the halfway house he was staying at in Malin Bridge and began shouting at a resident who had just got into his car.
Ms Gallagher said: "The defendant shouted: 'Oi, why have you got a problem with the people living in that house?'
"He tried to explain that he didn't have a problem, and had to go to work, and the defendant came out and took the keys from the ignition."
The resident took hold of the defendant's arm, and after a short struggle the man was able to drive away, the court heard.
At an earlier hearing, Hammond, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to possession of a bladed article, theft and affray in relation to the September incident, and to a further count of affray relating to the October incident.
In mitigation, Andrew Jepson, defending, said that at the time of the two offences, Hammond's father was 'literally on his deathbed' and Hammond had begun drinking to excess as a result.
He said: "He was simply drinking himself into oblivion."
The judge, Recorder Jeremy Barnett, sentenced Hammond to two years in prison.
"Taxi drivers do a difficult job, and provide a service to all in the community," said Recorder Barnett, adding: "People who do a difficult job at night have to know, that if people take out knives, as you have, they will be protected."