A YOB has been jailed for 20 months after a row with bus driver over a ticket turned violent.
Stuart Nathan Williams tried to smash his way into the driver’s cab but eventually after failing to do so grabbed £100 in takings and fled with it.
Ken Grant, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court that on October 7 last year 21-year-old Williams boarded the number 12 First Manchester bus at Sale Lane, Tyldesley.
The driver, Anthony Unsworth, was suspicious about the scratch bus ticket he produced and when he told Williams that he was going to keep it and he would have to buy another one Williams became agitated and aggressive.
He put his hand through the hatch in the plexiglass security screen and demanded the ticket back and when the driver refused Williams clenched his fist and his aggression escalated.
“He put his hand through the hatch and started punching the security screen while shouting, ‘come on big man, get out of the cab. I’ll break your jaw.’ He punched the screen with both fists causing the security clip fastening the screen in position to become loose.
“He started elbowing the door with some force so much so that Mr Unsworth reached up and pressed the emergency button in the cab. At that point the defendant said ‘that’s it soft lad, call for back up’.”
Williams began kicking the door attempting to get at the driver. “The defendant was saying, ‘I am going to remember you, you are a dead man, I’m going to kill you.’ Mr Unsworth was very scared.”
Williams kicked the door several more times and then reached through the hatch and grabbed £100 in notes from the ‘money pot’ and said, ‘I’ll buy my own ticket’.
He dropped some of the notes and after picking them up he fled, said Mr Grant.
When eventually arrested Williams maintained that the ticket was not fraudulent and he had bought it off a friend who had been given it by Atherton probation service. He admitted his behaviour and explained, ‘my head just went.’
He said that he spent the stolen cash on legal highs and had a heavy addiction using two or three grammes a day.
The court heard he has previous convictions including violence and drug offences.
Williams, of Ashmore Street, Tyldesley, pleaded guilty to robbery.
Martyn Walsh, defending, said that the offence had not been premeditated and Williams was remorseful. “He was being belittled in front of the other passengers. When confronted with such situations he does not respond in a normal way.”
Jailing him Judge Neil Flewitt, QC, said that it must have been “a terrifying” incident for the driver.
“The victim was a public servant in a vulnerable position trapped inside the cab of the bus. He was serving the public and entitled to protection from aggression such as this.”
He added that he accepted he had had a troubled upbringing and has some mental health issues brought on in part by his abuse of drugs.