Bus passenger locked up after attack on driver in Stoke
A DRUNK who tried to steal cash from a bus driver after failing to deceive him by using his friend's ticket has been jailed.
Junior Williams and Nicky McLean boarded the Number 21 bus in London Road, Stoke, at 2.30pm on August 15 last year.
McLean showed his valid ticket and then handed it back to Williams who showed it to bus driver Michael Clarke.
But Mr Clarke took hold of it and asked McLean to show his ticket again. Both men then became verbally aggressive, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard.
Prosecutor David Bennett said: "McLean snatched the ticket back and Mr Clarke instructed both men to get off the bus.
"The defendant lent around the driver's screen and took hold of the complainant's right arm and grabbed at the cash bag. Mr Clarke pushed him away and the defendant fell backwards."
Both men left the bus and Mr Clarke drove off a short distance and called the police.
Mr Clarke suffered pain and swelling to his right wrist and hand. Both men were arrested nearby.
McLean, aged 31, of London Road, Stoke, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and was sentenced at an earlier hearing to a 12 month community order with 50 hours unpaid work.
Williams, aged 21, of Maddock Street, Middleport, pleaded guilty to fraud, attempted theft and assault.
The court heard the defendant, who has previous convictions for battery and robbery, was made the subject of a community order for battery just 13 days before this incident.
Hamish Noble, mitigating, said Williams was realistic and accepted he would receive a custodial sentence.
Mr Noble said: "The offence was committed in drink. There was no planning or intent to steal. The taking of the pass by the driver perhaps prompted the unnecessary behaviour Williams displayed."
Mr Noble said the assault involved pushing and pulling and no punches were thrown.
He added Williams was significantly under the influence of alcohol.
Judge Paul Glenn said there were aggravating features including Williams's previous convictions, he was subject to a community order, the victim was providing a public service, the effect on the victim, Williams was drunk and other people were present and effected by his actions.
Jailing Williams for eight months yesterday, Judge Glenn said: "The victim was simply trying to do his job.
"You and the man you were with tried to deceive the driver. You were not particularly subtle and when he saw through your ruse you resorted to violence.
"You had drunk eight to 10 cans of strong lager and were verbally abusive. You reached round the screen and grabbed his arm and tried to grab cash. It was plainly upsetting for other passengers and the driver was unable to continue with the journey.
"He had his arm in a sling for a number of weeks and had some time off work."