Woman jailed for taxi robbery and campaign of harassment against ex-partner

By Bruce Unwin

Woman jailed for taxi robbery and campaign of harassment against ex-partner

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A WOMAN who robbed a taxi driver and “terrorised” a former partner in a campaign of abuse has been jailed for three years.

Natasha Brown was said to be capable of behaving in a “terrifying manner”, when in drink, a far different picture from her usual “pleasant and helpful” personality.

Durham Crown Court heard she “went off the rails” earlier in the year, following the ending of a relationship with an older woman, and the loss of a friend, who took her own life.

Chris Baker, prosecuting, said Brown appeared under the influence of drink when she got into a taxi on a rank in Chester-le-Street at about 9pm on January 7.

She asked to be taken to her home address in Second Avenue, and showed the driver she had a £5 note to cover the fare for the short journey.

On reaching her destination she was given £2 back, but claimed she had given the driver a £20 note and demanded what she said should be the rest of her change.

Mr Baker said she became abusive to the driver and told him: “Do you know I’m a street fighter?”, before punching him in the face twice, drawing blood.

She grabbed an estimated £40 to £50 from his pocket, ripped out the meter and grabbed a bottle of scent, before getting out of the car.

Mr Baker said the driver quickly pulled away “in panic”, and fearing she was following crashed into a school crossing sign, causing damage to his vehicle.

Police were informed of the incident and after town centre cctv footage was checked, she was recognised getting into the taxi.

When officers went to her home to arrest her, they recovered the bottle of scent and the taxi meter.

Mr Baker said several months later, while still on bail over the taxi incident, Brown twice entered the home of her ex-partner, as she had retained the key.

On the first occasion she dragged her by the hair from the toilet and scuffled with her, while ten days later she entered at night carrying a claw hammer and threatened to kill her ex-partner.

It was only when the terrified woman told her that she was not in a new relationship that the threats subsided.

Mr Baker said in the days between the incidents, in early May, Brown also sent abusive and threatening messages to her ex-partner.

When Brown was arrested she accepted going to the house, but claimed it was only to retrieve property, denying making threats and having the hammer.

The defendant, who was 23 yesterday, admitted charges of robbery and harassment.

Lorraine Mustard, mitigating, said following the relationship split and the tragedy involving a friend, Brown, “went off the rails”, drinking heavily.

But Miss Mustard said Brown has worked with an addictions team since her remand in custody, last May, and is now “full of remorse”.

Jailing her, Recorder Sophie Drake said having put the “vulnerable” taxi driver through the frightening ordeal, Brown then ran, “a campaign of terror” on her former partner.

Recorder Drake also imposed a restraining order, forbidding Brown approaching or contact ing her ex-partner, indefinitely.