Sikh taxi driver's turban ripped off in drunken attack

A drunken lorry driver who ripped off a Sikh taxi driver's turban and then tried to steal a motorist's car keys has been jailed for a year.

William Carr, 36, was aggressive and argumentative as the taxi he was being driven home in pulled into Watford Gap services on the M1 on November 11 last year.

Rebecca Wade, prosecuting, said: "They got out and the defendant started being aggressive towards the taxi driver, being abusive and swearing."

He grabbed hold of Ajit Singh Dhillon's car keys, 120 in cash and a mobile phone, before ripping off his turban and then trying to headbutt him several times.

The taxi driver managed to keep out of his way and called the police as Carr turned his attention to a passing motorist, who had stopped at the motorway service station.

Northampton Crown Court heard last week how Carr approached motorist Vimal Palmer and launched an unprovoked attack, while trying to steal his car keys.

After being arrested, Carr told officers he was so drunk he had no recollection of the incident.

Judge Richard Bray said: "He was drunk and assaulted a taxi driver; a nasty assault of an Asian taxi driver and his turban was taken off his head and thrown away.

"It's a grave insult and an aggravating feature."

Carr, of Fallowfields, in Crick, pleaded guilty to affray, theft of cash and a mobile phone and the attempted robbery of Vimal Palmer's car keys.

Jailing him for a year, Judge Bray said: "The taxi driver was assaulted in a humiliating manner and must have been very upset by your behaviour.

"There has to be a prison sentence.

"Attacks on taxi drivers at night have become all too prevalent," he added.

Claire Howell, defending, said Carr had been shocked by his behaviour after watching the CCTV footage from Watford Gap and wanted to compensate Mr Singh Dhillon.

She said: "This defendant was very, very drunk and was appalled by what he was said to have done. He is deeply ashamed of his behaviour that night."