Jailed for taxi terror

A CRACK addict with a £500-a-day habit who robbed two taxi drivers at knifepoint in Northampton was jailed for nine years yesterday.

Justin Georcelin, 22, was branded a danger to the public and taxi drivers at Northampton Crown Court following a series of violent robberies last year.

He was also handed an indeterminate sentence, meaning he will be on license for life.

Georcelin was one of a group of addicts who terrorised taxi drivers in Northampton last summer resulting in a shortage of night-time drivers and many private hire and taxi firms refusing to accept fares in the eastern part of town.

Clive Sutton, prosecuting, said Farhan Saleem was driving for Bounds Taxis on June 20 when he was called to a pick up in Waterpump Court, Thorplands.

After driving into Northampton and picking up three other men, his head was pulled back by a rear passenger as a knife was put to his throat. He was robbed of his takings and the court heard how the robbery has left a profound effect upon him.

On September 15, Peter Kessie was shopping at the Weston Favell centre when he was approached by two masked men. A struggle ensued during which he was twice stabbed in the back and his wallet and Nissan Primera was taken.

The car was then used later that evening to ram into the back of Martin Short's K-Cars taxi in James Lewis Court, Cherry Orchard. He was attacked and suffered stab wounds to his arm and neck before Georcelin fled.

Judge Richard Bray said: "These remain very grave offences. They were premeditated, planned attacks on taxi drivers at night and an innocent member of the public. They have been seriously effected by these episodes. The matter is further aggravated because you were high on crack at the time, on bail and on license from a previous prison sentence for wounding."

Georcelin, of North Holme Court, Thorplands, who admitted three robberies, will not be considered for parole until late 2010.

Matthew Maynard, mitigating, said Georcelin's prospective career as a professional footballer was destroyed by drugs.

"It's prison today – he knows it's as simple as that. He did not wield the knife or cause injuries by his action, nor was he involved in the planning. He was present with friends in the eastern district of Northampton, knew they were up to no good and joined in.

Detective Inspector Carl Jayes said: "This is a terrific result and I fell particularly satisfied for all the victims and the taxi-driving community as a whole and I hope that they feel reassured to see this man go to prison.

"The officers involved carried out a very thorough and professional investigation into what were a number of very frightening robberies and I know they will all be pleased by this sentence."