Pair who beat and robbed South Shields taxi driver for jailed for total of 11 years

Two serial offenders who flagged down an innocent taxi driver then beat and robbed him have been put behind bars.

Marc Mackie and Conna Sinclair stole money from inside the cab to buy drugs before they left their victim with serious injuries.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that the driver was distracted and led out of the car before the attack took place in the early hours of April 11 this year.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Alec Burns, prosecuting, said: "The taxi driver received a job call to go to a Chinese takeaway in Osbourne Avenue of South Shields.

Conna Sinclair and Marc MackieConna Sinclair and Marc Mackie
Conna Sinclair and Marc Mackie

"He saw the two defendants, one gestured to lower his window - he did and he told him he had a flat tyre.

"He got out and went to the back of the car to look."

The court then heard how one of the men got in the car to steal money while the other struck the driver to the head and face.

The court heard one of the attackers had been carrying a hammer.

Conna SinclairConna Sinclair
Conna Sinclair
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

They inflicted injuries including cuts to the cabbie's temple, a broken nose which required stitching and swelling behind his ear.

He added: "They actually had £130 in a draw string bag but he was asked again where the money was and he said there was no more and they left."

Mr Burns said the defendants had been staying at a friend of a friend's house as they were effectively homeless.

Mackie had a knife in his possession when they were arrested.

Marc MackieMarc Mackie
Marc Mackie
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Burns also summarised parts of the driver's victim personal statement, and told the court: "The blow behind his left ear hasn't been normal since the incident and he had to wait until September 28 to have it assessed.

"It has had a serious impact on his day-to-day life.

"He still has no feeling on the end of his nose - it has healed but the feeling hasn't returned.

"He didn't consider it ever happening to him and is now scared to work as a taxi driver and his family are scared about him going to work."

Mackie, 31, of no fixed address, admitted robbery and possession of a bladed article.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Sinclair, 22,also of no fixed address, also pleaded guilty to robbery.

Gavin Doig, representing Mackie, who has 12 previous convictions for 20 offences including one for robbery, accepted this sentence passed down would be longer than anything he had received in the past.

Mr Doig said: "He joined the Army after leaving school and served for a number of years.

"He has been candid enough to explain how that Army career came to an end – he admitted that didn't end well and he was discharged - that's to his credit."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Chris Knox, defending Sinclair, told the court that his client had lacked the appropriate support and guidance throughout his life, but accepted his 31 previous convictions for 49 offences was stark.

Sinclair read out a written letter to the judge from custody which said he was sorry for what he had done.

It read: "I would like to start with saying sorry to everyone for wasting their time.

"I am disgusted with myself for what I have done.

"If I ever get the chance I would like to say sorry to the taxi driver, this shouldn't have happened.

"I know saying sorry won't change anything but I am very sorry."

The judge sentenced Mackie to six years in custody with a two year extended licence period.

Sinclair received five years and two months imprisonment with an extended licence period of two years and eight months.

The judge told the pair: "The victim works as a taxi driver to support his family and has always done so.

"You did all of this for some money for a few drugs.

"You both gave no thought for your victim, only what you could get from him and the drugs that would follow."

Support your Gazette and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest football stories and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.