William QuinnImage copyright Spindrift
Image caption William Quinn had been drinking in a pub before he was picked up by the taxi driver

A man who attacked and racially abused a taxi driver before stealing his car and sparking a four-mile police chase has avoided jail.

William Quinn told taxi driver Hafiz Muhammed that he was going to die because he was a terrorist.

The 67-year-old admitted racially aggravated assault and dangerous driving during the incident last year.

Sheriff Norman Ritchie QC ordered Quinn to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work as part of a community payback order.

He was also given a curfew meaning he must stay at home between 20:00 and 08:00 for six months.

Quinn was also banned from driving for 18 months.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard the 38-year-old victim fled from his taxi before Quinn jumped in and got behind the wheel in March 2016.

‘High spirits’

He was pursued by police for four miles and was only stopped when he smashed into a parked car.

Mr Muhammed – who then worked for Glasgow firm Pacific Cars – had collected Quinn and his friend from a pub in the city’s Paisley Road West with “spirits appearing high”.

But shortly after Quinn was left alone with the taxi driver, the 67-year-old told him he looked like a Muslim and asked: “Are you a terrorist?”

Prosecutor Kathleen O’Donnell said Mr Muhammed offered to stop and let him out, but Quinn demanded to be driven home.

Miss O’Donnell added: “Quinn – without warning – placed his hand around the neck of Mr Muhammed and began to tighten his grip as the vehicle was being driven.

“Quinn pulled Mr Muhammed back and continued his grip around his neck.”

Police chase

The driver managed to perform an emergency stop as Quinn whispered “You’re going to die because you’re a terrorist.”

The court heard three police cars went after Quinn, who swerved across lanes and through red lights.

Quinn went on to refuse “several opportunities” to give a breath sample.

Tony Graham QC, defending, said the crimes were “wholly out of character” and asked for him not to be jailed, saying his client was aware he had “disgraced himself”.

Mr Graham said: “He struggles to reconcile his behaviour on that particular occasion. This may be due to a combination of medication and taking alcohol.”

Jail warning

He added that had Quinn been much younger, a jail-term would have been inevitable but asked the sheriff for an “alternative to custody”.

Sheriff Ritchie told Quinn: “He [Tony Graham] is absolutely right that, if you had been a teenager or in your 20s, a jail sentence would have been automatic.

“Why it should be different because you are older, I am not quite so sure, but I am prepared here to impose a community payback order.”

He said he was not “100% convinced” that it was the “appropriate sentence”, but warned Quinn would be jailed if he flouted the order.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here