Barnby shipwright jailed after robbing taxi driver near Lowestoft

A young shipwright who subjected an Iraqi taxi driver to 'the most appalling' racial abuse before robbing him has been sentenced to 14 months behind bars.

Lewis Salmon, of Mill Lane in Barnby, near Beccles, had earlier admitted robbing taxi driver Karzan Bahaaldin on November 4 last year.

Ipswich Crown Court was told that Salmon, 20, had been on a night out in Lowestoft and was 'heavily intoxicated' when he caught a taxi home with two friends.

The court was told that during the journey Salmon, sitting in the front passenger seat, became abusive and shouted racial remarks at Mr Bahaaldin, demanding he drive to Great Yarmouth instead.

The cab eventually arrived in Barnby at about 3.10am and while the two friends got out, Salmon again insisted on being driven to Great Yarmouth.

The court heard that the taxi moved on but as soon as it joined the main road out of the village, Salmon grabbed Mr Bahaaldin's arm, causing him to swerve.

He then snatched �40 in cash from his shirt pocket, punched him several times in the face and chest and jumped out of the moving vehicle.

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Salmon was later arrested and during a police interview told officers he had no recollection whatsoever of the incident.

Steven Dyble, for Salmon, said that the 'deplorable, offensive abuse' was 'utterly out of character' and he had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

Recorder Malcolm Knott said he was 'not surprised' to hear that the taxi driver was now reluctant to take fares to destinations outside Lowestoft and was 'very anxious' when picking up customers.

He said it was clear from the pre-sentence report presented to the court that Salmon was a 'persistent and excessive drinker' who has public order offences and a drink driving conviction on his record.

The judge said: 'I have references from people you know and everybody who knows you seems to speak well of you. You are skilful and hard-working. I have no doubt that is exactly how you are in the daytime, when you are sober.

'Unhappily, there is another side to your character, as evidenced by your previous convictions and your behaviour on the day of this robbery.'

Salmon was told he would serve half of his sentence at a young offenders' institution before becoming eligible for release on licence.

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