Taxi fare dispute led to racist abuse

1st Febuary 2011.'Court Snatch at Pontefract Magistrates.'Pictured:  Kelly Roebuck
1st Febuary 2011.'Court Snatch at Pontefract Magistrates.'Pictured: Kelly Roebuck

A FOUL-MOUTHED teenage girl hurled racist abuse at a taxi driver and booted his car after an argument over the fare.

Kelly Roebuck, 18, and Christopher Heels, 22, both of Newstead Terrace, Fitzwilliam, had been out celebrating their engagement in Pontefract before asking taxi driver Mohammed Ajaz Alam to take them home at around 2am on September 8.

Pontefract Magistrates’ Court heard on Friday that when the couple - who were accompanied by Heels’ mother Linda - were dropped off at home they were asked for £7 but refused to pay the full amount.

Mrs Heels went inside but Roebuck and her son, who were both drunk, started to argue with Mr Ajaz about the fee. Heels and Roebuck ran at the taxi and kicked it, causing dents and scratches estimated at £500, to the passenger side doors.

Heels then called 999, claiming Mr Ajaz had driven his taxi into Roebuck, who was heard shouting racist abuse and swearing by the emergency services operator.

Mr Ajaz told the court: “When I pulled up in Fitzwilliam I asked them for my money. The woman (Mrs Heels) said she wasn’t paying and got out. The young woman tried to get out the passenger side and fell half in the car and half in the road.

“The man went round to help her so I got out and asked for my money again. There was a bit of an argument about it and he gave me £6.

“The woman started swearing at me and shouting so I got into the car and locked the doors. I was just doing my job and I was angry at not getting the full fare.

“I took them home safely and then got called racist names, which upset me. I swore at them and they both came running and kicked the car.”

Mr Ajaz drove off and could still hear the pair shouting when he stopped to call police.

Heels had pleaded guilty to criminal damage at an earlier hearing but Roebuck stood trial for the offences, claiming she had not kicked the car and only called Mr Ajaz racist names after he knocked her over with his taxi.

She was found guilty of racially aggravated criminal damage and racially aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress.

Magistrates rejected her evidence and that of Heels and his mother due to their differing versions of the incident.

The pair will be sentenced on Friday, February 11.