A thug who behaved "like an animal" as he viciously robbed a taxi driver after he and two women refused to pay a fare in advance has today been jailed for five years.
Under an extended sentence for public protection, Stephen Banford-Jones will have to serve two-thirds before being considered for parole and he will be on licence for a further four years.
The 33-year-old, who has a long record for serious offending, admitted robbery. Sarah Rogers, 43, and 32-year-old Rebecca Lee admitted theft.
Thug Stephen Banford-Jones has been jailed for five years
Rogers, of Park Avenue Holiday Park, Park Avenue, Leysdown, was jailed for 18 months and Lee, of Augustine Road, Minster for eight months.
Maidstone Crown Court heard cabbie Afruz Ali went to pick up the three in Leysdown in the early afternoon of April 29 last year.
"There was a prolonged struggle as he lay partially in the carriageway and under his car..." - Patrick Moran, prosecuting
They got in asking to go to Sittingbourne, but when Mr Ali requested payment up front they refused - despite a cash machine being nearby.
Patrick Moran, prosecuting, said the request was repeated by the victim and also his radio controller.
Banford-Jones, who was drunk and on drugs, then climbed into the front and launched a sustained attack.
Mr Ali tried to radio for help as he was forced out of the cab. Banford-Jones knocked him to the ground and stamped on his head.
"There was a prolonged struggle as he lay partially in the carriageway and under his car," said Mr Moran.
"Mr Ali recalled all three shouting racist and abusive language throughout."
A taxi driver was viciously assaulted by Stephen Banford-Jones. Library image
Banford-Jones grabbed Mr Ali's money bag containing £80 from his waist. Witnesses saw the victim being repeatedly punched and kicked in the face. One said he acted like an animal.
After fleeing with the cash, he went into a nearby holiday camp and tried to break into an amusement machine.
When police arrived he said handcuffs would not stop him and tried to headbutt officers before being arrested.
Mr Ali was treated for wounds, bruises and grazes.
The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court
Banford-Jones, of Linden Drive, Liss, Hampshire, said he was visiting a friend in Kent and had been drinking since 8am. He met up with Rogers and Lee that day.
He had previous convictions for three offences of robbery - for which he was jailed for six years - and kidnapping, robbery and having an imitation firearm, for which he was sentenced to seven years.
In March 2010, he was jailed for five-and-a-half years for robbery in which he punched his victim several times and stamped on his head.
Judge Michael Carroll said the latest offence was a serious example of robbery.
"Your record remains appalling," he told Banford-Jones, who was on licence at the time.
Rogers was sentenced to eight months for theft and 10 months consecutive for breaching a suspended sentence.
The judge said as it was the first time Lee, who previously ran a dog grooming business, had been to prison he would keep the sentence as short as possible.