Man who bit Bristol taxi driver's ear is sent to prison
A TAXI passenger who smashed the driver's window before biting his ear has been jailed for a year.
Robert O'Connor forced cabbie Mohammed Umar to stop and pleaded that he and a woman be driven up Brislington Hill, Bristol Crown Court was told.
Mr Umar started to drive them but, when they rowed, asked them to get out and O'Connor smashed his window with a 50p coin before causing the injury.
O'Connor, 35, of Selworthy Road, Knowle, pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding and criminal damage.
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Judge Geoffrey Mercer QC told him: "Taxi drivers are entitled to be protected by these courts and, quite simply, they will be.
"Only in rare circumstances immediate custody will not be imposed."
Christopher Smyth, prosecuting, said it was 4.20am on April 1 when O'Connor jumped in front of the taxi, causing it to stop sharply, and O'Connor and the woman got in.
Mr Smyth said: "They were pleading to go to the top of the hill. He thought this was a satisfactory way of resolving the matter.
"There was a heated altercation between the couple and Mr Umar decided to stop and ask them to leave.
"He opened the rear door and the male got out."
So began a confrontation, Mr Smyth said, resulting in the cabbie driving off and having his driver's side window smashed by a coin.
Mr Smyth said: "He decided to stop the vehicle.
"He was able to approach the defendant, who had started to run off, and he grabbed him by the collar.
"The female joined in, the driver put his head down, and he felt a bite to the top of his right ear, which pulled it with great force."
The court heard the assault was estimated to last three minutes, during which three men walked by without getting involved.
When a security guard chanced on the scene police were called and arrested O'Connor.
He told police the woman said something which offended the driver, the driver pulled her to the ground and there was a fight in which the driver scraped his head on the ground.
O'Connor, who has a previous conviction for glassing a man in the face, conceded he smashed the taxi window.
The taxi driver needed 12 stitches to his wound and also suffered grazes to his palm, fingers, neck and knee and a scratch under his eye.
Timothy Rose, defending, said his client had been trying "extremely hard" to tackle issues but had relapsed into taking heroin, crack cocaine and alcohol.
Mr Rose said: "He plainly requires punishment. The taxi driver and others like him require protection.
"Is this best achieved by immediate custody, where he will mix with other violent criminals and come out in a certain way?"