South Shields passenger branded 'a bit of an idiot' after trashing taxi driver's car in row over fare

An angry South Tyneside taxi passenger has been branded a “bit of an idiot” by a judge for smashing a windscreen in a row over his fare.

Deputy District Judge Gary Garland fired the verbal volley at Steven Kirkup, 29, who caused an estimated £100 of damage.

Kirkup, of Ingham Grange, Westoe, South Shields, struck after being given a ride to Cramlington, Northumberland, on Sunday, June 27.

During the same incident a second passenger smashed the vehicle’s wing mirror, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard.

The judge had some strong words for him in court.


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Prosecutor Paul Anderson said: “It’s pretty straightforward. There was damage to the windscreen of a taxi driver’s vehicle.

“There is footage which shows damage being caused and two males being involved. The other male damaged the wing mirror.

“The taxi driver lost two-and-a-half days of work, and the windscreen was £100. There’s lost earnings.”

Kirkup, who has 11 previous criminal convictions and was last before the courts in April 2018, pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage.


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The unnamed co-accused was handed a police caution, it was said.

Paul Dunn, defending, said: “He’d got himself into a state and reacted in this way. It was a dispute about what was to be paid.

“He’s not a man who is regularly in trouble but you’ll see, on looking at his record, there’s a history of perhaps alcohol difficulties.”

Judge Garland told Kirkup his actions may have cost the driver £600 in lost income and repairs.


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He added: “Why you decided to take out your anger on their poor taxi driver’s car, I don’t know.

“These are ridiculous sums of money that you’ve wasted because you chose to be a bit of an idiot. We all have to have control.”

In reply, Kirkup claimed the driver had demanded double the price of an agreed £30 ride upon reaching his destination.

He said he had phoned 999 to get police assistance but had then lashed out.


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Judge Garland sentenced him to an 18-month community order, with a requirement of 20 days of rehabilitation work.

Kirkup must also undertake 20 days on the Probation Service’s Thinking Skills programme and pay the driver £150 compensation.

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