A Bradford minicab driver has been jailed for eight months after he attacked a passenger with a torch.

Andrew Tye needed 15 stitches in five wounds to his head and only escaped by driving off in his attacker's car, a Court heard yesterday.

Mohammed Raja Iflaq, 26, had picked up Mr Tye in the Headrow, Leeds, last May and was taking him back to a friend's flat in Armley when Mr Tye realised he did not have enough money for the fare.

Prosecutor Jeremy Hill-Baker told Bradford Crown Court how Mr Tye asked to be taken to a nearby cashpoint, but Iflaq drove off saying he was going to dump him in Bradford.

At a set of traffic lights Mr Tye managed to get out of the private hire vehicle, but Iflaq chased after him and struck him five times over the head with the large torch.

"The complainant fought back,'' said Mr Hill-Baker.

"He wrestled the defendant to the ground and was able to take refuge in his taxi.''

Mr Tye was unable to lock the door so he drove off in the vehicle, but Mr Hill-Baker said because he had been drinking that night he lost control and crashed on a roundabout.

Mr Tye was helped by other people in the area and Iflaq later reported his car as being stolen.

When he was questioned by police, Iflaq, of Haslingdon Drive, Heaton, claimed Mr Tye had been aggressive towards him and he was acting in self defence.

Iflaq, who was given a community service order for assault in January 2000, was originally charged with false imprisonment and wounding with intent, but his guilty plea to unlawful wounding was accepted by the prosecution.

Barrister Paul Greaney, for Iflaq, confirmed that as a result of the events that night he had lost his private hire driver's badge and his insurers had refused to pay out for his written-off vehicle.

He explained that his client had been the victim of an assault while working as a minicab driver a few months before and he mistakenly feared Mr Tye was not going to pay his fare.

Judge Geoffrey Marson QC told the father-of-two: "What you did that night was wholly unreasonable, as you well know.

"You attacked a passenger with a weapon and you struck him five times about the head causing significant wounds requiring 15 stitches.

"I well accept that the physical consequences of the incident were not as serious as they may well have been, but undoubtedly this was a very frightening and distressing experience for your victim."