Cirencester man convicted of racially abusing Polish cabbie
A JOBLESS alcoholic from Cirencester has been convicted of racially aggravated assault on a Polish taxi driver.
Darren Simpson, 47, was convicted at Gloucester Crown Court today for racially aggravated assault on Jack Alexandrovic, a Swindon cabbie who has lived and worked in the UK for five years.
At the end of the three-day trial Judge Jamie Tabor QC said he found it 'deeply unattractive' that the offensive assault was committed by a man who funds his drink and drugs with state benefits.
The jury cleared Simpson of a second charge of having a knife during the incident on May 10 last year.
Mr Alexadrovic said he had been extremely frightened by the experience. He told the court he had picked up a man and a woman from Fairford and driven them to Stepstairs Lane, Cirencester.
“They did not pay me when I stopped,” he said. “They said I would have to wait a few minutes and the lady went away somewhere.
“Then two to three minutes later the man walked away as well, in a different direction. I saw he had left his mobile phone in my car so I drove slowly after him and asked him 'what about my fare?'
“He said he and the woman had had an argument and she had the money so she would pay me. Then his phone rang and it was the woman and she told me to drive to an address near there for the money.”
He continued that, when he got there, he saw the woman on the steps outside the address but there were also two men and they walked towards his car.
“They took the mobile phone from me and tried to take the keys out of the car ignition,” he said. “One of them was Mr Simpson and he hit me in the face with his closed hand. There was force in the blow and I was so scared.
“I was so shocked. They were shouting at me. He was calling me immigrant, foreigner, f***er. I was absolutely shocked. They were shouting for me to go away. I have never had problems with people like this before.”
He told the jury he had pushed his emergency button to report the incident, but was so shaken he could not explain what had happened in English.
When he saw one of the men walking towards him with what looked like a knife he dialled 999, prompting armed police to swoop on the area and arrest Simpson.
In evidence, Simpson said he tried to take the ignition keys from the cab because he had heard that the driver had kidnapped a passenger, but denied using racist language or hitting Mr Alexandrovic and he said it was another man who did that.
After the jury convicted him they were told he had 20 previous convictions for 73 offences, mostly driving related but also for violence and damage. Bailing Simpson until October 4 for a pre-sentence report, Judge Tabor warned him he faces an immediate jail term.
“There is something deeply unattractive about a man who called a hard working Polish taxi driver a foreign f***er when he himself is using state benefits to fund his alcoholism and drug taking,” he said. “It is very unattractive.”
He added his fate would depend on how he behaved over the next month, saying: “It depends whether he goes on drinking himself to death at the expense of the state or he tries to sort himself out.
“The latter would be demonstrated by a letter of apology to this unfortunate Pole who had to suffer his drunken ranting.”