Callous cabbie conned blind passenger out of 270 after she asked him to help her use cashpoint and he entered 300 instead of 30 Shafak Hussain, 36, took advantage of regular passenger Gill HollandAfter tricking woman she gave him a 4 tip which he thanked her for
Victim described going to court as 'harrowing' and said she is still 'upset'
Hussain was taking Miss Holland back to her home in Oldham from hospitalFound guilty by magistrates and given four-month suspended sentence
16:22 GMT, 14 January 2013
10:05 GMT, 15 January 2013
Lenient: Gill Holland, who was duped by taxi driver Shafak Hussain, said she did not expect his punishment to be 'so lenient' and talked of her 'upset' at the incident
A blind woman thought her taxi driver was being a kindly soul when he offered to help her withdraw the fare from a cash machine.
But, far from being a Good Samaritan, he plundered her bank account and pocketed almost 20 times the cost of the fare.
Yesterday, a smirking Shafak Hussain escaped a jail sentence after being convicted of theft.
But magistrates were told he has been shunned by his community, friends and former colleagues, and sacked from his job.
The incident happened last August when Gill Holland, who was returning from a hospital appointment, realised she was short of money so asked Hussain to stop at a machine so she could withdraw the fare.
The court was told she was able to type in her PIN without assistance but asked Hussain to help her, by typing in 30.
With Miss Holland standing next to him, Hussain withdrew 300, pocketing 270 whilst handing over the rest – so she could pay the fare.
Miss Holland, who was with her guide dog Glen, handed over 14 and gave him a 4 tip, to which he said ‘Are you sure’
Miss Holland’s bank later contacted her about her balance and she was shocked to learn that 300 had been withdrawn.
The 52-year-old contacted the manager of Motown taxis to tell him about the incident and he confronted Hussain, who was later arrested.
The court heard Hussain, of Oldham, had previous convictions for theft, fraud and forgery.
He was given a suspended jail sentence, ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and pay back his victim.
Guilty: Shafak Hussain, who cheated Gill Holland out of 300 when she asked for help at a cash machine, even thanked his victim for a 4 tip at the end of the journey
Last night, she condemned the sentence
and said Hussain had intended to steal from her the moment she stepped
into the taxi.
‘I have an account with that taxi company and as soon as I
got in the car he said: “This isn’t on account, is it” He knew in one
way or another he was going to do something.
‘This wasn’t about the money, it was
just about getting justice and to let other people know and make them
more aware there are people like that out there.
‘I just wish the sentence hadn’t been so lenient.
‘Going to court was a harrowing
experience for me but I was worried this man would try and do it again
to someone else who was vulnerable.
‘I do believe 99.9 per cent of people are good and just want to help but he has upset me.
‘It’s just so awful. It’s not the taxi
firm’s fault, their drivers are usually excellent – unfortunately they
can’t help it if they get one rogue person working for them.’
Pick-up: Mrs Holland had been picked up by the taxi driver at Manchester Royal Infirmary after she was taken ill
Dominic Geelan, prosecuting, said:
‘The defendant withdrew, without her knowledge, 300, giving her 30 and
keeping the rest.’ Peter Eatherall, defending, said Hussain, a
father-of-two, had been shunned by all his friends and acquaintances. He
added: ‘He has lost all of his friends.
‘He’s been shunned by people who knew
him and by fellow taxi drivers, who obviously feel strongly about the
repugnant element of this matter – this defendant’s life has changed for
the worse significantly.’
District Judge Paul Richardson told him: ‘This was a very mean offence. She relied on you and you betrayed her.
‘The victim was totally blind and a lady who had just emerged from hospital having been unwell during the day.
‘I am glad to say you will never work again as a taxi driver.’
Taxi driver Shafak Hussain was given a four month suspended prison sentence at Oldham Magistrates Court after being found guilty of stealing the money