Leeds robber’s minibus theft after violent attack on driver

Leon Gordon Fitzhenry.
Leon Gordon Fitzhenry.
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A taxi driver has been praised for his bravery after he tried to follow two robbers who had attacked a minibus driver and driven off in his vehicle.

Jailing one of the robbers, Leon Gordon Fitzhenry, for four and a half years at Leeds Crown Court, Judge Rodney Jameson ordered Quarban Ali to be given £100 from public funds.

“He showed remarkable tenacity in the circumstances disregarding personal danger to himself and did a remarkably good job,” he said.

Geraldine Kelly prosecuting told the court the victim of the attack, Gary David, had fallen asleep in his vehicle which was parked in the Beeston area of Leeds on the night of June 18.

He was woken by two men getting in beside him, one into the driver’s seat and the other on the passenger side with him caught in the middle.

He was punched as the vehicle moved off and they demanded his money. He was told the blows would get harder if he did not hand it over.

Miss Kelly said Mr David tried to escape by flinging himself over the passenger and out the door, even though the vehicle was moving and ended up dangling out of it scraping his hip and back on the road surface.

His attackers stopped the vehicle and as he fell to the kerb they got out and began kicking and punching him before stealing his wallet containing around £40, a cigarette tin, mobile phone and his key and driving off in the mini bus.

Mr Ali had witnessed some of what happened and decided to follow them and did for some distance until they pulled up at a pub and warned him off.

The bus was subsequently crashed into a wall in Barton Terrace where Fitzhenry was arrested and the stolen property recovered but the other man escaped. Mr David had facial injuries as well as abrasions on his back and hip.

Fitzhenry, 34 of Barton View, Beeston, admitted robbery and aggravated vehicle taking.

Jailing him Judge Jameson said their victim had been so fearful he “decided he was better off trying to jump out” even though the vehicle was moving, only to be assaulted again.

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