Telford machete thug jailed after 'terrifying' attack on taxi driver
A man who was armed with a machete when he threatened and chased a taxi driver outside a Telford flat has been jailed.
Scott Lee James, 36, who was involved in the “terrifying and unprovoked’ incident, was in possession of three other machetes.
The defendant had jabbed the weapon towards victim Neil Evans who had feared for his life as it was held just millimetres from his face.
Following a brief trial – held in the defendant’s absence – at Shrewsbury Crown Court a jury found James guilty of affray and two charges of possession of cocaine and cannabis.
He had earlier admitted causing criminal damage to two police cells when he was arrested in April this year.
After the verdicts yesterday Judge Jonathan Gosling passed a sentence and James was jailed for a total of three years and four months and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
The court heard that James, formerly of Park Street, Madeley, and now of Wigland Way, Kings Norton, had a background of random violence, erratic behaviour, dishonesty, failing to attend court and committing offences on bail.
Judge Gosling told the jury that James had deliberately made himself absent by failing to turn up for the start of his trial on Wednesday afternoon having been at court earlier in the day.
He said James had been involved in a “terrifying episode” and that Mr Evans had feared he would be struck with the machete and was chased by the defendant.
“As a taxi driver he may be used to dealing with people who make threats but this incident put him in fear of his life,” he added.
The court heard the incident happened on April 2 this year at flats above a Premier shop in Park Street, Madeley.
It seemed James had access to three of the flats, which appeared to be abandoned, where Mr Evans went to retrieve a mobile phone that belonged to his step-daughter.
It was understood the defendant came into possession of the phone and there was an arrangement that he would be paid £20 to hand it over.
Access to the flats was at the rear of the building through a communal door and stairs to a first floor corridor.
Having got no response from knocking the doors Mr Evans heard a TV in one of the flats and he rang the number of his step-daughter’s phone and then knocked hard on the door several times.
Mr Evans told the court he heard someone swearing and the door was swung open and was faced by a man in bare feet, wearing a red tracksuit with the hood up, and holding a large machete.
“It was held just millimetres from my face forcing me to take a couple of steps back and he stepped out into the corridor.
“He jabbed it twice towards my face and it was very close and I managed to move away just in time,” Mr Evans told the jury.
He said he heard his partner behind him and shouted for her to go back to the car as the man became more aggressive and erratic.
Mr Evans said he feared for his life and ran with the man chasing him and he was able to close the communal door and hold it shut as the man struggled to open it.
After getting back to his car and called police he saw James appear at the front of the building and was looking around.
At a subsequent video identification process Mr Evans had picked out the defendant. “It is not a face I am likely to forget,” he said.
Mr Kevin Jones, prosecuting, said when the premises were searched police recovered three other similar machetes and a quantity of cannabis from a shoebox in a bedroom.
He said it was July last year police found a quantity of cocaine when it fell from James’ sock when he was being searched after his car was stopped.
Mr Mark Hemming, who represented James during the trial, had suggested on behalf of his client that he was not armed with a machete and did not leave the flat.
Following the guilty verdicts he said that James was a ‘troubled’ young man with drug issues.
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