Mansfield man assaulted taxi driver, best friend and cop after fare row

Mansfield Magistrates Court

Mansfield Magistrates Court

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A Mansfield man with mental health problems elbowed a taxi driver in the mouth, punched his friend when he tried to intervene and grappled with a police officer, a court has heard.

Paul Allsop, 47, admitted three counts of assault and possessing a knife in a public place when he appeared before magistrates in Mansfield on Wednesday.

The court heard Allsop elbowed the taxi driver after arguing about the fare from the Greyhound pub, on the High Street, to his home on Birkland Avenue, Mansfield Woodhouse, in the early hours of November 4.

And when the taxi driver tried to get out of the cab, Allsop punched him in the ear, said Neil Hollett, prosecuting.

“His friend tried to restrain him but he broke free and punched him twice in the face.

“When police arrived to arrest him, he tried to make a break for the back door and pushed the officer into a fridge.”

There was a scuffle which ended up on the floor, said Mr Hollett.

Allsop was found to have a lock-knife on him when he was searched at Mansfield Police Station.

Matthew Taylor, mitigating, told the court that years earlier Allsop had damaged his spine in an accident aboard a trawler, which left him with severe pain and caused mental health problems.

He now relied upon the support of his family, Mr Taylor said, and shortly before the incident his GP had referred him to Millbrook Mental Health Unit for an emergency appointment.

Mr Taylor said the taxi firm had accepted Allsop’s apology and said his custom was still welcome. His friend did not wish to pursue the matter further.

He said Allsop had tried to get a glass of water when police arrived to arrest him, and they may have misinterpreted his behaviour as aggressive because of the medication he was taking.

Allsop didn’t realise carrying a knife, which he used to whittle wood to pass the time, was an offence, Mr Taylor added.

Magistrates sent him to prison for 28 days, suspended for 12 months, and ordered him to pay £50 compensation each to the officer and the taxi driver.

There were no conditions because the bench ruled he was not “in a fit mental state to fulfil requirements.”