Passenger branded 'a bit of an idiot' after trashing taxi driver's car in Cramlington in row over fare

An angry taxi passenger has been branded a “bit of an idiot” by a judge for smashing a windscreen in a row over his fare.

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 4:55 am

Deputy District Judge Gary Garland fired the verbal volley at Steven Kirkup, 29, who caused an estimated £100 of damage.

Kirkup struck after being given a ride to Cramlington, Northumberland, on Sunday, June 27.

During the same incident a second passenger smashed the vehicle’s wing mirror, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard.

The judge had some strong words for him in court.

Prosecutor Paul Anderson said: “It’s pretty straightforward. There was damage to the windscreen of a taxi driver’s vehicle.

“There is footage which shows damage being caused and two males being involved. The other male damaged the wing mirror.

“The taxi driver lost two-and-a-half days of work, and the windscreen was £100. There’s lost earnings.”

Kirkup, of Ingham Grange, Westoe, South Shields, who has 11 previous criminal convictions and was last before the courts in April 2018, pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage.

The unnamed co-accused was handed a police caution, it was said.

Paul Dunn, defending, said: “He’d got himself into a state and reacted in this way. It was a dispute about what was to be paid.

“He’s not a man who is regularly in trouble but you’ll see, on looking at his record, there’s a history of perhaps alcohol difficulties.”

Judge Garland told Kirkup his actions may have cost the driver £600 in lost income and repairs.

He added: “Why you decided to take out your anger on their poor taxi driver’s car, I don’t know.

“These are ridiculous sums of money that you’ve wasted because you chose to be a bit of an idiot. We all have to have control.”

In reply, Kirkup claimed the driver had demanded double the price of an agreed £30 ride upon reaching his destination.

He said he had phoned 999 to get police assistance but had then lashed out.

Judge Garland sentenced him to an 18-month community order, with a requirement of 20 days of rehabilitation work.

Kirkup must also undertake 20 days on the Probation Service’s Thinking Skills programme and pay the driver £150 compensation.

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