Lancaster taxi driver jailed for threat to kill ex-girlfriend

Stephen John Knight. Picture supplied by the police.
Stephen John Knight. Picture supplied by the police.
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A woman feared she was going to die after her taxi driver boyfriend threatened to stab her with a bread knife.

Stephen John Knight said to his victim, “I am sorry but you are going to die tonight, I am going to get a knife now,” Lancaster Magistrates Court heard.

Knight, of Green Lane, Lancaster, appeared before the court charged with threatening to kill a woman, possessing a blade in a public place, assault, causing actual bodily harm and criminal damage.

Magistrates heard how the 50-year-old was drunk as he walked towards his victim with the nine-inch serrated edged blade.

Michael Wallbank, prosecuting, said the woman, who had been in a relationship with Knight for three months, thought she was going to be killed in her own home.

Knight had left the victim’s home to take cards to his children to give to their mum for Mother’s Day.

When he returned, he said he had had a couple of glasses of wine. He and the victim then continued to drink.

The court heard how he tried to take the woman’s phone but when he couldn’t he began repeatedly punching her in the face.

“He pinned me on the sofa, hit me with a clenched fist to my face, I kicked him in the balls to try and get him off, he kept asking me if I wanted him to hit me again,” the victim’s statement said.

“He hit me again with a clenched fist with his right hand, he punched me to the side of my nose and side of my face.”

The woman called the police as Knight began “smashing up the kitchen” before coming towards her with the blade.

As the victim ran out into the street police arrived trying to calm Knight down, who retaliated with offensive language.

“He was walking away from police on Norfolk Street, he continued to walk away with the blade in one hand and a bottle of wine in his left hand,” said his ex-girlfriend.

The woman suffered head and face injuries and was taken to hospital.

Defending, John Lee, of LHD Solicitors, told magistrates how Knight was “ashamed and remorseful of his actions”.

The court heard how the taxi driver, who has two children aged 17 and 14 to his ex-wife, has not appeared before the court for 20 years.

Mr Lee said Knight was dealing with a failed marriage, the news of his father’s diagnosis of bowel cancer and was also supporting his daughter who had lost her friend in a fire.

“He said he was drunk and his recollection of the night is not great,” said Mr Lee.

“He is ashamed of his actions, and disappointed with himself, it has been an embarrassing time for him and his other family.

“He said he took the bottle of wine and the knife because he was going to do himself in.

“He has all the signs of someone with depression, he has not had a single drop of alcohol since the incident.”

Knight, who has been a taxi driver for 12 years, has informed Lancaster City Council who licence taxi-drivers, of his charges.

Knight was sentenced to 31 weeks in prison, ordered to pay £150 compensation and was given a restraining order to stay away from the victim’s home.

Neil Hall, chairman of the bench, said: “We could have given you a suspended sentence but the bench thought that these offences were so serious that only imprisonment was acceptable.”

Lancaster City Council has revoked Knight’s taxi licence following the court case.