A taxi driver lured by a customer to an isolated rural road has since been afraid to work at night as a result of his ordeal, a court has heard.
Gerard Ward, aged 43, of Glenma, Croom, Co Limerick, was jailed at Limerick Circuit Court yesterday for four years for threatening to kill the driver with a knife.
He got a further consecutive two-year sentence for attempting to rob a briefcase from a businessman walking on O’Connell St, Limerick.
That crime was carried out when Ward was out on bail for the attack on the taxi driver man.
Ward pleaded guilty to both crimes.
Garda Tom Flavin said Ward flagged down a taxi, in Limerick, at around 11.30pm on January 25, 2013, and asked to be driven to Croom.
He told the taxi driver he had no money and would pay him when he got home, as his mother would have the money.
Ward insisted the taxi travel on secondary roads, instead of the motorway.
They travelled to an isolated country road and Ward became aggressive.
On producing a knife, he demanded the driver’s takings.
He ordered the driver out of the car, told him to take off his pants, and said he would kill him, his wife, and his children.
Ward took some cash and two mobile phones.
He also hit the car with an iron bar and ordered the taxi driver to drive him towards Croom, before getting out and disappearing into the night.
The taxi driver was concerned because his identity picture and name were visible on the dashboard and he was afraid Ward would come after him.
With the help of CCTV, gardaí tracked down Ward, who had previous convictions in this country and in Wales.
In a victim impact statement, the taxi driver told how he still suffered psychologically and emotionally. He no longer felt comfortable working at night and this had caused him financial loss.
While out out on bail, along with another man, Ward accosted a man who was walking along O’Connell Street and demanded his briefcase.
Ward had a knife.
The man ran off and Ward was arrested shortly after.
Judge Tom O’Donnell said the taximan had been subjected to a frightening ordeal on an isolated road.
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