Video warning: Offensive language

A young man who terrified a taxi driver by pulling him out of his own vehicle in a drunken rage narrowly escaped jail today.

Paul Knell, 28, of Brown Royd Avenue, Rawthorpe, turned aggressive after the 47-year-old cabbie, Muhammed Naeem, locked him in the vehicle following a row over the fare last year.

Prosecutor, Pippa Hildyard, told the bench at Kirklees Magistrates’ Court the defendant got into the taxi on the evening of June 2 and asked to be taken to Heys View, Rawthorpe.

She said the defendant said he couldn’t pay the fare but he would contact a third party who would pay.

Mr Naeem initially refused to let him out but once he got out he approached the driver’s door and smashed the windown of the vehicle. He grabbed hold of the complainant and was shouting and swearing all of which was recorded on a mobile phone.

Taxi driver Muhammed Naeem attacked by passenger Paul Knell. He recorded the ordeal on his mobile phone.

The court heard the defendant had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and was convicted of assaulting Mr Naeem and of damaging the window of his Nissan NV200 at an earlier hearing.

Sonia Kidd, in mitigation, said: “It’s fair to say that there was an incident with the taxi driver outside McDonalds.

“He had consumed a considerable amount of alcohol.

“He says that he told the driver that his friend would pay but he was locked in by the taxi driver. He refused to let him out of the car.

“His friend came out with the money, £5, but the taxi driver says it has gone up to £7. He wanted to use the toilet.

“He lost it. He has elbowed the window and pulled the taxi driver out of the taxi.”

Paul Knell leaves Kirklees Magistrates' Court

But Mrs Kidd was anxious to stress that the defendant had not used any racist language during his outburst.

She said: “At no point did he use racist language.”

She said when he was interviewed by police he admitted that he “felt sickened by the whole situation.”

READ MORE: Paul Knell in court over a shocking attack on a taxi driver in Rawthorpe

READ MORE: Watch: Taxi driver subjected to a terrifying assault in Dalton

The bench agreed his behaviour passed the threshold for a custodial sentence but imposed a community order for 12 months with 15 days of rehabilitation activity requirement as a direct alternative to custody.

In addition a 7pm-7am curfew for four weeks was imposed.

The defendant was also ordered to pay £200 compensation for the damage to the car window and a £60 surcharge, all deductible from his benefits.