Man back in court for taxi driver assault - 12 years after fatal attack on banker

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

A man convicted of killing a wealthy banker in a joint attack with his brother more than a decade ago was back in court following a violent attack on a taxi driver, a court has heard.

Flowers left at the scene of the death of Frank McGarahan. PHOTO: Antony Kelly

Flowers left at the scene of the death of Frank McGarahan. PHOTO: Antony Kelly - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

Tom Cowles admitted the manslaughter of Frank McGarahan, a Barclays Bank boss, who was attacked by the defendant, then 22, and another man in the Guildhall area of Norwich 12 years ago.

Mr McGarahan, 45, from Hertfordshire, who had been out with family in the early hours of September 28, 2008, ahead of a family christening when he witnessed an assault on another man and went to help before being attacked by the brothers.

Tom, now 33, was jailed for seven years back in 2009 but appeared back at Norwich Crown Court on Friday (June 26) following an attack on a taxi driver in August last year.

Isobel Ascherson, prosecuting, said Cowles and his wife were being taken back to Acle from Ormesby when there “appears to have been a dispute about the route” the taxi driver was taking.

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The court heard Cowles, who was sat behind the driver, suddenly put his arms around his neck and was strangling him.

The taxi driver was able to free himself from Cowles’ grip before stopping the taxi.

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Cowles had broken off the mirror of the car and was trying to destroy the central console of the car.

Cowles got out of the car and continued to attack the taxi driver.

Another motorist stopped to assist by contacting the police but Cowles went over and kicked out at him before making off from the scene.

Miss Ascherson said the driver of the taxi suffered an injury to his eye, namely the back of the eyeball, where there was the risk of a detached retina.

The court was told Cowles had previously been convicted of manslaughter following the death of a man in an attack in Norwich.

Cowles, who appeared in the dock wearing a white shirt and blue tie, shook his head as details of his previous conviction were read out.

Cowles, whose address held by the court was Beighton Road, Acle, appeared in court having admitted assault occasioning ABH, assault by beating and damaging property.

Judge Anthony Bate said Cowles had been sentenced to 12 years for manslaughter following a fatal attack in Norwich city centre.

Judge Bate said there were similarities in the “gratuitous violence” while in drink, used in that attack and the incident which had brought him back before the courts some 12 years later.

But having regard for his pleas, his strong work ethic and three children, Judge Bate stepped back from a sentence of immediate custody.

Cowles was given a 10 month sentence, suspended for 18 months, ordered to do 180 hours unpaid work, made the subject of a six month curfew from 8pm to 6am and must also do 25 days rehabilitation activity requirement (RAR).

In addition Cowles was ordered to pay £500 compensation to the victim, £500 in compensation to the taxi firm and £250 costs.

John Morgans, mitigating, said Cowles had admitted what he had done and shown both insight and remorse.

He said he put forward no justification for his actions which were committed while in drink.

Mr Morgans added he never wanted to harm anyone again.

As previously reported, Mr McGarahan, a chief executive of Barclays Wealth, ran an arm of the bank which managed the assets of some of the world’s richest people.

He had gone to stand up for a homeless man who had been attacked but was knocked to the floor within three minutes and was to lapse into a coma from which he never recovered.

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