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Alleged taxi thief claims he was in 'hypnotic trance': Court

Taxi rank in Gravesend
Taxi rank in Gravesend

A man accused of robbing a taxi driver of his car told police he had either been "drugged or put in an hypnotic trance" and then kidnapped by the cabbie himself, a court heard.

Grant Stone was said to have given the "nonsense" account after he had led police on a chase in the Peugeot 407.

A jury at Maidstone Crown Court heard Stone, 34, of Court Lodge Road, Gillingham, is alleged to have attacked Mohammed Patwary, forced him out of his cab and then driven off in the vehicle.

Mr Patwary had picked up Stone outside Sevenoaks railway station just before 11pm on April 27.

Mr Patwary had only been working as a taxi driver for about a month. He told the court Stone asked to go to Gillingham and sat in the front seat.

However, Mr Patwary said as he drove along the M25 towards Orpington Stone told him to stop and then grabbed the steering wheel.

Speaking through a Bengali interpreter, Mr Patwary said Stone was shouting and swearing at him.

"He was holding the steering but I was trying to pull to the left side. When I stopped the car he told me to get out. He pushed me by his elbow and hit me.

"He tried to hit me more. The car keys were in the car and he tried to take the key and he hit me on my lip and my forehead."

The court heard Mr Patwary dialled 999 on his mobile phone during the alleged attack. "I told them somebody was hitting me and I told them where I am," he continued.

"He punched me on my hand and the mobile fell down. Then he opened my door and he wanted to push me outside.

"At that time, to save myself, I opened my seatbelt with my left hand and I fell outside. When I fell down he kicked me."

The court heard Stone then drove off in the cab, leaving behind a shoe which Mr Patwary said he had managed to grab.

Stone denies robbery. He told police following his arrest he had been drinking and picked up the taxi outside Maidstone West station after the driver told him the fare to Gillingham would be £20.

Prosecutor Catherine Donnelly said Stone claimed it was daylight when they set off. "

He said he must have been drugged or placed in a hypnotic trance because the next thing he recalled was being driven on the motorway towards Orpington with a fare showing £90," she said.

Stone admitted to police he had grabbed the steering wheel when the driver refused to stop and a struggle followed in which he "prodded" the driver in the head three times before taking the keys and driving off.

Miss Donnelly said that despite Stone's counter allegation of being kidnapped, CCTV footage from Sevenaoks and Maidstone West train stations showed he was "lying through his teeth".

"This was a robbery performed by Grant Stone whose account, quite clearly, is nonsense," she added.

"He is effectively saying he was hypnotised and taken by this taxi driver when all the hard evidence shows his account is complete nonsense."

The trial continues.

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