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Cabbie bottled in row over dud note

PUBLISHED: 15:54 01 July 2009 | UPDATED: 11:32 12 August 2010

A CABBIE who confronted passengers after he was handed a fake £20 was beaten and hit over the head with a bottle, a court heard. John Mahoney, 28,

A CABBIE who confronted passengers after he was handed a fake £20 was beaten and hit over the head with a bottle, a court heard.

John Mahoney, 28, of Meadow View, Orpington, was jailed for 10 months last Friday after he admitted causing actual bodily harm to taxi driver Turan Ozcelik.

His fellow passenger Michelle Young, 25, of Thursley Crescent, New Addington, who handed him the wine bottle during the incident on New Year's Day also pleaded guilty to the charge and was given a community order which includes an alcohol treatment programme.

A third passenger, Greg Coleman, 30, of Oakbrook Close, Bromley, did not appear in court to face the charge and a warrant for his arrest has been issued.

Prosecuting, Miss Shahnez Ahmed said taxi driver Mr Ozcelik picked up the three passengers and took them to Burnt Ash Heights in Pike Close.

Mahoney paid the fare with £20 and Mr Ozcelik gave him £10 change.

Miss Ahmed said: "The three walked towards the entrance of the block of flats and the driver realised the note he had been given was a fake.

"He confronted Mahoney, who took the note back and started to argue. Mr Ozcelik asked him to give back the £10 change and he offered to forget the fare altogether.

"Mahoney became abusive and Coleman joined in."

Mr Ozcelik was punched and kicked and Young handed a wine bottle to Mahoney who hit him over the head with it.

Blood was pouring from his head and a woman passer-by came to his aid.

Mr Ozcelik recalled later: "I couldn't breathe as I have asthma. I was taken to Lewisham Hospital and my head was X-rayed."

Susan Rodham, defending, said Mahoney had not really believed the £20 note was a dud.

He had been drinking heavily the night before and had acted in a way he would not ordinarily have done.

But the court was reminded that Mahoney had 40 previous offences on his record, two of them for assaults on police.

For Young, Christopher Gillespie said she had an alcohol problem and she had little recollection of what happened on that day, but she accepted that unpleasant injuries had been caused by the bottle she had handed over to Mahoney.

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