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OAP throttled cabbie before leading police on car chase

William Quinn, 67, was chased by officers for four miles after stealing taxi.

Quinn appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court.
Quinn appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court. STV

A pensioner throttled a taxi driver before sparking a police chase after stealing his car.

William Quinn told terrified Hafiz Muhammed: "You're going to die because you are a terrorist."

The 38-year-old victim fled from his cab before Quinn jumped in and got behind the wheel.

The 67-year-old was pursued by police for four miles and was only halted when he smashed into a parked car.

Quinn admitted a string of charges at Glasgow Sheriff Court, including racially aggravated assault and dangerous driving.

His QC said the March 2016 crimes were "wholly out of character".

Sheriff Norman Ritchie QC ordered Quinn to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work as part of an 18-month community payback order.

He was also hit with a curfew meaning he must stay at home between 8pm and 8am each day for six months.

Quinn was further banned from the road for 18 months.

The court heard that Mr Muhammed - who then worked for Glasgow firm Pacific Cars - had collected Quinn and his friend from a pub in the city's Paisley Road West with "spirits appearing high".

Prosecutor Kathleen O'Donnell said: "Quinn stated to him he looked like a Muslim and asked 'Are you a terrorist?'."

Mr Muhammed offered to stop and let the pensioner leave, but he demanded to be driven home.

Miss O'Donnell added: "Quinn - without warning - placed his hand around the neck of Mr Muhammed and began to tighten his grip as the vehicle was being driven.

"Quinn pulled Mr Muhammed back and continued his grip around his neck."

The driver managed to perform an emergency stop as Quinn whispered: "You're going to die because you're a terrorist."

Mr Muhammed initially struggled to free himself from his attacker's grip. He then fled from the car topless after Quinn, from Pollok, grabbed his T-shirt.

Quinn chased after him on foot - but then got in the cab himself and drove off.

The court heard three police cars went after Quinn, who swerved across lanes and raced through red lights.

"Quinn - without warning - placed his hand around the neck of Mr Muhammed and began to tighten his grip as the vehicle was being driven."
Prosecutor Kathleen O'Donnell

He eventually smacked into a car before being held.

Quinn went on to refuse "several opportunities" to give a breath sample.

His advocate Mr Graham said: "He struggles to reconcile his behaviour on that particular occasion.

"This may be due to a combination of medication and taking alcohol."

The QC added Quinn also "bore no ill will to any group or individuals".

The lawyer went on that had Quinn been much younger or previously been in trouble then a jail-term would have been inevitable.

But, Mr Graham said: "There is an alternative to custody in this case."

Sheriff Ritchie told Quinn he should be "very grateful" for the case the QC put forward.

The sheriff added: "He is absolutely right that, if you had been a teenager or in your 20s, a jail sentence would have been automatic.

"Why it should be different because you are older, I am not quite so sure, but I am prepared here to impose a community payback order."

He said he was not "100 per cent convinced" that it was the "appropriate sentence", but warned Quinn would be locked up if he flouted the order.

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