Traveller sentenced after assaulting man in Harpenden taxi queue

Harpenden Train Station

Harpenden Train Station - Credit: Archant

A traveller who punched a man in a taxi queue after believing he heard a racial slur was sentenced on Friday (13).

Patrick Cash, 23, of High Street, Kimpton, appeared at St Albans Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to using threatening or abusive behaviour with intent to provoke violence at an earlier hearing.

He has also pleaded guilty to a second charge of committing a further offence during a suspended sentence and will be sentenced at a later date at St Albans Crown Court.

Cash had been out with friends and his wife at pubs in Harpenden on December 12 last year when they visited Harpenden station to get a taxi.

There was a line of about 20 people waiting for a taxi when the group of travellers ‘cut the queue’ at about 1.20am.

The court heard that the first group got in the taxi and proceeded to laugh and ‘put up the middle finger’ at the remaining people in the queue.

Cash, who told his probation officer that he was drunk at the time, waited for the second taxi when he heard queue members mutter the word ‘pikey’.

Prosecutor Neil Smith, of the Crown Prosecution Service, told the court that Cash got out of the taxi asking “which one of you f***ers called me a pikey” and added “I’ll kill every f***ing one of you.”

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He then proceeded to take off his top and accidentally pushed a middle aged woman to the floor before attacking a man in the queue.

The victim tried to restrain the defendant but was subsequently assaulted. Other men then restrained Cash by pinning him to the ground.

A member of the public called the police while Cash struggled on the ground kicking.

Mr Smith added: “Rather than leave the situation, the defendant had stayed to become violent.”

Mr Carey, defending, said that Cash was grieving for a good friend who had died the previous week and reacted to the ‘grossly offensive’ racial slur used by people in the queue.

He added: “This was clearly not a thought through plan. It was an impulsive action done in the heat of the moment.”

He continued: “Mr Cash is embarrassed by this offence. He puts his hands up and doesn’t shy away from what happened.”

Cash received a 12 month community order and was ordered to complete 180 hours of community service, shortened from 240 hours because of his guilty plea.

He did not pay compensation but had to pay out £250 in court costs and a £60 surcharge.