A ROBBER was caught after he left traces of his blood at the scene during a violent knife-point struggle with a taxi driver.
Roger Smith, 44, has been jailed for two years and eight months after a court heard how he targeted the driver near to his home in Leeds.
Leeds Crown Court heard Smith was picked up by the driver, who works for Amber Cars, on Sandhurst Place, Beeston, at 5.30am on September 2 last year.
Smith got into the taxi and asked to be driven to where he lived on Dulverton Grove, Cottingley.
The destination was around two miles away, the court was told.
Richard Smith, prosecuting, said the driver feared Smith was about to run off without paying when he zipped his jacket up as they neared the destination.
The taxi driver drove to some nearby shops so they would be captured on CCTV footage.
Smith then became aggressive and pulled out a pen knife which he held to the driver’s face.
The prosecutor said the driver initially thought Smith was playing a joke on him until he was punched twice in the face.
The two men then struggled before Smith managed to get out of the vehicle and run off.
Smith was arrested after blood was found in the taxi and linked him to the offence.
He initially denied the offence and claimed he must have left the blood behind when he sneezed.
He later pleaded guilty to robbery.
The court heard Smith has previous convictions for violence dating back to 1992.
The court was told Smith had mental health problems and much of his offending was linked to crack cocaine abuse.
The court was also told Smith was sorry for what he had done and wanted to apologise to the victim for his actions.
Jailing Smith, recorder Sophie Drake said: “This was a pre planned offence against a vulnerable member of the public – a taxi driver at night performing a public service – and that aggravates the offence.”