A PROLIFIC offender who robbed and punched his taxi driver said he couldn't remember doing it, a court heard.

Simon Flood grabbed his driver's mobile and earnings before punching him when he was asked if he could afford the trip.

Prosecutor Emily Lanham told how the 30-year-old got into a taxi with a female passenger in Southampton.

However, the driver suspected, by the "way they were behaving", that they did not have enough money to pay for the trip.

He pulled the car over and asked for the fee upfront.

Southampton Crown Court heard that Flood, of Cranbury Avenue, Southampton, got angry and pulled down the protective Covid screen between himself and the driver.

Miss Lanham said that the defendant punched him in the face and grabbed his mobile phone.

Flood then got out of the car, went to the driver's door, beat him again, and snatched around £100 of his earnings.

During a police interview, he told officers that he was a heroin addict and couldn't remember the incident, but said he couldn't get taxis as he couldn't afford them.

Flood was charged with one count of robbery to which he pleaded guilty.

In his defence, Jamie Gammon said that Flood had had an "unhappy history for a young man with problems" and has "really struggled".

But, he now appears to have spent some considerable effort to turn a corner, and is in stable accommodation. 

He can now "begin to look at some of his issues," Mr Gammon said.

However, Judge Christopher Parker QC said that he left a "permanent scar" on the driver, who is now "more nervous about providing his service".

He described it as an "entirely unpredicted and undeserved" attack, which was "very frightening".

Judge Parker added that Flood, who has had 28 previous convictions, has been committing crime "all of his adult life".

"I am very well aware of your turbulent background and personal health condition. The fact is the court has heard it all before," he said.

He added that his actions seem to stem from his addiction to class A drugs, and that the crime was so serious that only immediate custody could be given.

For the offence committed in October 2020, he was jailed for 21 months. 

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