A "dangerous" attacker savagely stamped and kicked a cab driver, causing a life-changing head injury after an all-night "bender" on booze and cocaine.
The Leicester Mercury reports that Callum McDermott was staggering in the middle of the road in Saffron Lane, Leicester at 6.40am, on Monday August 23.
He then kicked a taxi and the 45-year-old driver approached him holding a fire extinguisher amid the tooting horns of impatient commuters.
McDermott then attacked the driver, a married father of three, raining down 18 punches, kicks and stamps. He then walked away as the smaller man lay unconscious on the floor, but returned and stamped or kicked him six more times with 'full force'.
Police were called to the scene after the incident, which was captured on CCTV.
McDermott then claimed he didn't know why they were there and attacked three officers, breaking the nose of one officer in four places and injuring his eye.
Leicester Crown Court heard McDermott was then sprayed with an incapacitant and taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary where he made racist comments to staff who were trying to treat him.
It was unclear whether the taxi driver would survive the attack for two weeks. His distraught wife spent every hour by his bedside and believes her husband's 'thinking abilities may be permanently damaged'.
He has also been left with poor balance and struggles to walk at times.
They are now living under threat of losing their home and they have had to rely on a food bank to feed their family. The victim, who was once described as a 'calm man' now gets angry and frustrated and has said several time that he feels he would have been better off dead.
Judge Timothy Spencer QC told 33-year-old McDermott: "It's a dreadful, dreadful picture and a dreadful, dreadful story. "
The judge added the impact on the injured officer, who suffered facial fractures, was significant and caused extreme distress to his son.
McDermott originally stood trial, charged with attempted murder, but was found not guilty.
He pleaded guilty to an alternative count of intentionally inflicting grievous bodily harm to the taxi driver.
He also admitted causing actual bodily harm to a police officer and assaulting two emergency workers, by kicking two constables, as well as racially aggravated threatening behaviour at hospital and a police station.
McDermott was said to have suffered from a traumatic childhood and suffers from PTSD. In the weeks leading up to the incident he was admitted several times to Leicester's Bradgate psychiatric unit, where he caused wanton damage during hostile and manic outbursts, one leading to his arrest. He was discharged from the unit on August 2.
On the night before the attack, he visited a cousin in Ashby-de-la-Zouch for a "bender" on alcohol and drugs. It is unknown how he ended up in the Saffron Lane area of Leicester by 6.40am the next day.
McDermott began arguing with the judge during sentencing and was ordered he leave the dock and wait in the court cells, without hearing in open court how long he would have to stay in prison.
His solicitor/advocate, Helen Johnson, told the court: "He didn't get the treatment he needed from the Bradgate Unit and was released in a poor state of health. His mental health was very bad at the time of this incident.
"Whilst in custody (on remand), he's been receiving the treatment he needs, with long term psychological intervention and medication. He's now getting the help he's been asking for from the age of 13."
The judge said he accepted the defendant was remorseful for his actions.
McDermott was jailed for ten years and eight months - of which he will serve two thirds. He was given an additional five year licence extension, as the judge said he was a "dangerous" offender, with a substantial risk of future harm to the public.
The judge publicly commended three members of the public, two men and a woman, who "bravely" tried to intervene at the scene and awarded them £300 each from public funds.
Afterwards, Leicestershire Police issued a statement. The Investigating officer, DC Berni Smith, said: “This was a horrific attack on a man in a public place, in front of a number of members of the public. Many were left extremely distressed by what they had witnessed.
"Fortunately, the victim survived the attack, although he is still receiving ongoing medical treatment and life for him will never be the same."
Taxi drivers across Bracknell Forest have asked for a rise in fares.
Bracknell News reports that current fees have been in place since August 2021 but calls have been made for a review into fares due to the cost of fuel prices increasing.
The proposed increases would see tariffs rise to £7.80 when journey commences between 7am and 11pm Monday to Sunday (excluding bank holidays, Christmas and New Year).
Bracknell Forest council wants your say on whether hackney carriage operators should be permitted to increase their fares or not.
The council is required, by law, to consult on any proposed changes to the fares and would therefore welcome input from the taxi trade, residents and taxi users alike.
The executive at its meeting on Tuesday, May 24, agreed unanimously that the request to consult on a 15 per cent increase in the fares against a backdrop of a 25 per cent increase in fuel costs should be accepted.
The Public Protection Patnership said: "The process of setting a fare increase is complex and a balance needs to be struck between the legitimate aims of the taxi trade to maintain profitability in the face of increasing costs, while protecting the public from excessive fares."
A spokesman said: "The consultation will run from June 1 to June 15 2022. Officers will collate the responses which will be presented to the Licensing and Safety Committee meeting on the June 23."
If no objections are received the revised fares will come into effect on the June 19 2022.
Taxi users are reminded that these are the maximum fares that can be charged and a lesser fee can be agreed before the journey starts.
The continuing dispute between private hire drivers and Sandwell Council has seen another protest take place.
According to the Express and Star, more than 100 private hire drivers joined a protest outside Sandwell Council house on Tuesday, 24 May, to voice their continued demands for the council to talk to them about long delays and high prices for licence renewals in the borough.
It was the latest in a number of protests by members of the Sandwell Private Hire Drivers Association (SPHDA), following on from a go-slow protest around the streets of West Bromwich and other parts of the borough on May 4.
It currently takes between nine and 12 months for new applications for a private hire licence to be processed in Sandwell, compared with around three weeks in Wolverhampton.
Additionally, a one-year taxi plate costs £353 for a vehicle under five years old, and £399 if it is older, if the vehicle is registered with Sandwell Council, with other councils charging much less.
SPHDA chairman Mohammed Niwaz said the protest had been necessary due to what he described as a lack of communication and consideration from the leader of the council, Kerrie Carmichael.
He said: "We were supposed to have a meeting in March about this, but she claimed to know nothing about it and said it would be rearranged for another month, but then she said the local elections meant she would need to do it another time.
"Finally, she comes back to us with a date of June 15 to meet about this so, at that point, we wrote back to her saying that she is not being serious enough about talking to drivers after we had waited for so long.
"That's why we decided to protest outside the council house on Tuesday as we want them to understand that we want justice, we want our fees reduced and more help with MOTs and help reducing our costs."
Mr Niwaz said there had been no response from any member of the council during the protest and said that if they heard nothing in the coming week, they were prepared to do more protests.
He said: "If the council leader or any member of the council doesn't come back to us with a new date, we are prepared to demonstrate again with either a go-slow or a protest on June 7 when they have a full council meeting.
"We want them to sit with us and see what they are offering so that we can move forward, but it doesn't feel like anything is set to happen yet, so we will continue to protest until something does happen."
A spokesman for Sandwell Council said: "We are making a number of improvements to our taxi licensing service in response to issues raised by the taxi trade and in support of our licensed drivers and operators.
"This includes the introduction of new licensing software to enable online applications and payments.
"We regularly meet with representatives of private hire drivers and provide updates on progress with service improvements.
"We are committed to making further changes to improve the licensing process and ensure consistent standards for taxi and private hire passengers."
A five per cent rise in taxi fares in Malvern Hills has been backed by councillors.
According to Worcester News, the increase will see basic fares for hackney cabs across the Malvern Hills district rise from £4 to £4.20 for a one-mile trip with two-mile journeys costing £6.72, a five-mile trip rising to £14.28 and a ten-mile journey will now cost £26.88.
Late-night and Bank Holiday journeys will also increase by five per cent.
It is the first time taxi fares have risen in Malvern Hills since 2014.
Fares could have risen by more than 22 per cent across the board under the proposals put forward by the district’s cab drivers.
Alistair Smith from Smiths Taxis, who has made the request on behalf of the district’s hackney carriage drivers, said the cost of a two-mile trip would need to rise to £8 just to match the rise in inflation over the last eight years.
Mr Smith added that fuel prices had risen by 35 per cent since the last request in 2019 and that the living wage had risen by 50 per cent during the same period while taxi earnings “remained static.”
“The net result, of course, is that drivers are leaving the trade, and those that are left concentrate on the most profitable times,” Mr Smith said in a letter to the council.
“Far from ensuring the financially vulnerable have access to taxis, the current tariff policy of MHDC is simply ensuring a lack of availability for all taxi users, a situation repeated nationwide.”
Three options were put to councillors in total including five per cent and 22 per cent blanket increases – with the smaller five per cent increase put forward by the council – as well as a third option which contained a mix of increases including a 22 per cent and 17 per cent rise in one and two-mile journeys and 13 per cent and 10 per cent increases for five and ten-mile trips.
Cllr Beverley Nielsen, portfolio holder for environmental services, said taxis were important for vulnerable people and those living in rural communities and a five per cent rise was “reasonable.”
Cllr Whatley said the five per cent rise was “justifiable” as the country was in “unusual times” at the meeting of Malvern Hills District Council’s executive committee on Tuesday 24 May.
A cabbie has lost his licence after behaving inappropriately towards a lone female passenger he was transporting from Cambridge to Ely.
According to the Cambridge Independent, a complaint was made about Tariq Mehmood, 42, from Longstanton, by the woman following a late-night journey in October 2021.
She said that as soon as the journey started, Mehmood made comments about how “gorgeous” she was, questioned her relationship status and when she revealed she had a boyfriend, told her to leave him and that he would look after her.
Several times he asked her to get into the front passenger seat next to him.
The woman felt so vulnerable during the journey that when Mehmood insisted on getting her phone number, she gave it to him. He then called her and told her to save his number.
The passenger recorded audio of some of the journey because of Mehmood’s behaviour and he could be heard saying that she had broken his heart when she would not get into the front seat.
Interviewed by South Cambridgeshire District Council, Mehmood denied all the allegations - including the comment he had been recorded saying. When it was played back, he claimed he could not remember saying it.
He was referred by a licensing officer to the council’s licensing sub-committee, which revoked his licence immediately.
The council’s taxi licensing appeals panel then refused his appeal at a hearing in December 2021.
Mehmood then appealed to the Magistrates’ Court but on 19 May, it concluded that on the balance of probabilities he was not a fit and proper person for a licence, and dismissed his appeal, awarding the council £800 in costs.