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Robbers who slashed Cheltenham taxi drivers' face at large

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 18, 2013

Gloucestershire Constabulary

Comments (11)

ROBBERS who slashed the face of a taxi driver responding to a pick-up call have evaded justice.

When Cheltenham cabbie John Carr drove to an address in Moors Avenue, off Tewkesbury Road, he was expecting to pick up a fare.

Instead, he was subjected to a horrific robbery attack.

Gerald Burke, 44, the man who made the call to lure Mr Carr into the trap, pleaded guilty to encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence at Gloucester Crown Court.

He was caught after the incident, when police traced his mobile phone.

The court heard that as Mr Carr sat in his cab, two men emerged from the shadows and attacked him with a blade.

They took his £220 takings and fled. And they have never been caught.

Recorder de Navarro QC said he had "great sympathy" for Mr Carr, who had suffered "ghastly consequences" from the robbery.

The attack has shocked other taxi drivers in Cheltenham, with many admitting the job they do could be dangerous.

Jonny Horrocks, owner of Jonny Rocks Taxis, said the possibility of running into a dangerous situation was something that preyed on their minds.

He said: "It is a worry and a consideration that you have got to take on board when you are going out to a call.

"You have got the vehicle and you have got money on you. It can be very difficult, but this is our job.

"If something sounds dodgy you are looking out for any danger.

"I am ex-military so I am confident in myself, but it is a worry.

"It does play on your mind. In some places you can't even get signal on your phone so you are on your own."

He said taxi drivers often tried to assess the situation when they arrived at an address.

"If you don't know the person, the first thought is are they going to be there when I get there and then once you see the people you make that decision about the person approaching you and ask yourself if you are in trouble," he said.

A handful of drivers working from the Promenade told the Echo that everyone knew that taxi drivers carried money as they picked up fares.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one driver said: "We don't have a lot of protection. We are in normal saloon cars and it is just pot luck."

Another taxi driver said: "It doesn't surprise me.

"People know that we have money. I think we're more at risk than doormen are because they are expecting trouble."

Recorder Michael de Navarro QC sentenced Burke to 250 hours of unpaid work and placed him under supervision for a year.

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  • honslknjklyt  |  February 18 2013, 4:00PM

    Then Burke should have thought before getting involved with people, the daft burke. If he does not want to nominate his friends to take their share of the blame then he should take it for them, that should be the deal, not refuse to name them so they get let off. 250 community work is pathetic, just like the judges. The judges themselves will be judged one day for abusing their position.

    |   13
  • pingu61  |  February 18 2013, 3:47PM

    I suspect the real problem is that Burkes punishment for revealing the names would be far far worse. Even so, the sentance does appear particularly lenient. I can't help but think there's more to this than meets TiGs eye.

    |   4
  • sticks_stones  |  February 18 2013, 3:31PM

    Well, there you have it: white working class = fair game = free-for-all! Meanwhile over in Gloucester more sexual attacks and the 'solution' to the attacks - three links! http://tinyurl.com/aytk4ut Both of these attacks happend on the same day! http://tinyurl.com/altrqoz The 'solution' - http://tinyurl.com/bcypoqo

  • honslknjklyt  |  February 18 2013, 2:05PM

    Despicable, there are many people who are lone workers on their own in many difficult circumstances, private parking enforcement officers, lone security guards, taxi drivers, lone shop workers, delivery drivers and several more who are at risk earning a living and whom generally the general public have low or little regard for. Here is another example of how men are also at risk. How many are attacked to a lesser scale and not reported? These people all have a job to do and rather than keep tightening up on employers making them take all these extra costly security measures, it should be the criminals who pay the price with harsher sentences to deter others from doing it in the first place. This is one of the reasons I disagree entirely with the **** walk, march against violence on women and so on. I am not sexist and think that ALL victims of violence, robbery etc should punish the criminal and not the victim who are al too often scarred for a very long long time.

    |   7
  • Baldwins Service  |  February 18 2013, 12:31PM

    A locked box bolted to the floor for the money to go in (key not present) with just a £20 float for change, And a very loud panic button alarm would help.

    |   5
  • supernova1  |  February 18 2013, 10:56AM

    I give up, much more of this joke justice, and I'm off..................

    |   13
  • ALChelt  |  February 18 2013, 9:53AM

    What a pathetic sentance stick him down the road for at least 7 years and maybe just maybe it might make others think twice about assiting other to violently rob an inocent man of just £220. However that is the issue in our society now the do gooders have had their way and there is very little consequence today,even murder you are generally back out within 15 years so a young man can still enjoy most of his life having taken anothers life and destroyed others.

    |   15
  • cheltenham20  |  February 18 2013, 9:48AM

    This man know#s the names of the 2 people who did the robbery, but won't tell.. simple really as 'Walker 100' said let him rot in the prison cell , untill he give's the names of the vermin who robbed the taxi driver,,, I suppose we must take on board the British judiciary system,, a system that will look after the criminal, and to hell with the victim...

    |   20
  • Paddymurf78  |  February 18 2013, 9:47AM

    I know it's not the ideal answer, But maybe all taxi's should be like the taxi's in London, With a hard plastic divider separating the front to the back and passengers can only sit in the back's of there cars? The bus drivers now are secure in there driving area by plastic covering and you just slide the money under a small gap??

    |   8
  • Justica  |  February 18 2013, 8:41AM

    This sentence is a joke, 250 hours of unpaid work ? Not unpaid though, he is presumably getting benefits, so is no worse off than people putting in these hours but earning an honest living .

    |   18