Man who smashed taxi window to avoid paying fare is jailed

Thomas Barlow, 28, got into the taxi in Tombland in Norwich, before asking to be taken to various lo

Thomas Barlow, 28, got into the taxi in Tombland in Norwich, before asking to be taken to various locations around Norwich. Picture Google. - Credit: Archant

A man who smashed a taxi window and leapt out to avoid a £20 fare has been jailed for 11 weeks.

Thomas Barlow, 28, got into the taxi with another man around 3am on February 9 last year, before asking to be taken to various locations around Norwich.

After sleeping for part of the journey, Barlow tried to escape the cab and threatened the driver when he realised they could not afford to pay.

Finding the doors locked, he tried to pay £6 before smashing one of the windows and running away.

Lucy Miller, prosecuting at Norwich Magistrates Court, said Barlow had been picked up from Tombland, asking to go to Thorpe Road.

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"The taxi driver drove via the train station, when the man changed his mind and said he now wanted to go to Spixworth," she said.

"Both men slept for part of the journey, then said they wanted to go to Hawthorn Road and on to another location.

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"The man was saying to his friend 'you haven't got the money, how are you going to pay?'

"He tried to open the door, which can't be done unless the meter is cleared. The man started to shout at the driver and tried to pay £6. He was told if he didn't pay he couldn't get out.

"He was shouting and punching the window between the driver and the passengers, and the driver decided to drive back to Norwich to the police station.

"On route the man was shouting and making threats.

"At the junction with Spixworth Road the man managed to smash the window on the right hand side and both men got out and ran away, leaving an outstanding fare of £20.86."

In a victim impact statement, the taxi driver said he had "lost faith in other customers" and now tries to get money up front.

Police were called and when they arrived they found Barlow 400 metres away with a cut on his hand.

Barlow went no comment in interview because he "has no recollection" of what happened, Annette Hall, mitigating, told the court.

"He had drunk an awful lot of alcohol at that time," she said.

She added there are "mental health issues" for which he is being medicated.

"It is quite clear he had money on him because he gave £6 to the taxi driver," she said.

Magistrates activated five weeks of a ten week suspended sentence imposed on August 6 last year for a burglary Barlow committed.

They also jailed him for six weeks consecutively for criminal damage and making off without payment.

"This was very unpleasant and the taxi driver must have been very frightened indeed," said chair of the bench, Mary Wyndham.

Barlow, of Oakdale Road, Brundall, has also been ordered to pay £195 in compensation for the broken window and £20.80 for the taxi fare.

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