Barnsley woman who punched and racially abused taxi driver reprimanded in court

Written by Allegra Goodwin

A Barnsley woman who hurled racist abuse at a taxi driver and punched him as he drove her home from a night out has been given a 12 month community order and made to pay £180 in compensation by Sheffield Magistrates today.

Joanne Thompson, 29, had been out drinking with friends in Barnsley on 7 February last year, when she called a taxi to pick her up from a nightclub. 

Thompson, of Bank End Avenue, Barnsley, asked taxi driver Imran Butt to stop at a kebab house, but he told her there were none open, leading her to become racially abusive and aggressive, the court heard. 

Prosecutor Susan Fisher said Thompson called Mr Butt a “f****ing p*** b*****d” and punched him in the back of the head. 

Thompson then pulled off the taxi’s rear view mirror and stole loose change belonging to Mr Butt, to the value of between £10 and £15, said Mrs Fisher. 

Mr Butt then phoned the police and Thompson was arrested.

Phil Stables mitigating, said Thompson was ashamed of her actions and was visibly “cringing” in court, but had been impaired by alcohol consumption, which she’d had issues with in the past. 

“She accepts she gave into temptation,” he added. 

“She has little to no recollection except waking up in the police cells.”

He pointed out Thompson has not reoffended in the 15 months since the offence and suggested it wasn’t how she usually conducted herself.

Magistrates thanked Thompson for her “candid” guilty plea, but warned the consequences of her actions could have been “grave” for Mr Butt and other road users since she punched Mr Butt while he was driving. 

They noted Mr Butt had a right to go about his working life without the threat of abuse. 

As well as the community order and compensation, Talbot was ordered to do 80 hours of unpaid work in the community and to attend 15 rehabilitation days for alcohol treatment. 


Written by Allegra Goodwin

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