Jail for racist robber Dayle Mara who attacked Asian taxi driver
ATTACKING, robbing and racially abusing an Asian taxi driver has ended in a three-year jail sentence for one Cheltenham man.
Dayle Mara, 24, of Croft Avenue, Charlton Kings, admitted hitting Aditya Rai and hurling racist insults at him, but denied holding a knife to his throat and robbing him of £40.
But he was convicted by a jury of robbery and was told by Recorder David Lane QC that he would have to serve a sentence that deterred other potential late night "thugs".
The Recorder had been told that Mara committed the offences just three weeks after he had left prison following a sentence for harassment.
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The court heard that on November 30, Mara and his girlfriend Heidi Slender called for a taxi and Mr Rai arrived at Mara's home, which was then in Hatherley Lane.
He took them to Dowty Road and on the way Mara unleashed racist rants at Mr Rai and hit him on the head.
On the return journey, Mara told Mr Rai to pull into the Asda car park and then got into the front seat where he put a knife to his throat and lifted up the central arm rest to take out £40 from the compartment beneath.
In evidence Mr Rai, who is of Indian extraction, said: "I was really scared and shaking. I had never had any experience like that in my life before."
The court heard that he had made a victim impact statement in which he said: "I am now scared of working at night. I want to move to a different job because I don't feel safe. Cheltenham is a small town and I am worried about seeing him again."
Delroy Henry, defending, said: "There was no rhyme, reason or rationale for him behaving in the way he did that night.
"Part of the explanation must be the level of intoxication and the consumption of cannabis. It is no excuse for that sort of language to be used in any scenario and for that he is genuinely remorseful."
Passing sentence, Recorder Lane said: "There are many people working long hours, sometimes into the early hours, who provide a service to the public – often with little or no protection from this kind of assault – and they are vulnerable targets.
"This sentence should offer re-assurance that if any thug attacks or robs such a victim, they will go straight to prison."