A TAXI driver was dragged from his car and punched during a late night road rage attack, a court was told.

Carlo Carta beat taxi driver Richard Knight and then snatched the keys from the ignition and drove off.

Carta, whose brother owned a rival taxi firm, denied stealing a gold chain and said he threw the ignition keys away at the scene.

Carta was given community sentences and banned for 12 months. He must take an extended re-test to regain his licence.

Carta, aged 35, of St Helens Road, Leigh, appeared at Bolton Crown Court for sentence. He admitted dangerous driving, common assault and theft. Recorder Simon Newell sentenced Carta to a two year Community Rehabilitation Order with a condition he attend the rigorous Think First Programme. He was also sentenced a 60 hour Community Punishment Order and in order to regain his licence he will have to take an extended re-test.

Prosecutor Michael Leeming said 45 year-old taxi driver Richard Knight was taking a fare from the Shepherds Inn in Lowton and was driving towards Leigh. In his mirror he saw a Ford Mondeo coming up behind him at speed. The car was flashing its lights and sounding the horn.

Knight thought Carta's driving was silly and attempted to overtake him but Carta swerved into the taxi forcing it to stop. Carta and a passenger jumped out and dragged Knight from the vehicle and punched him. Knight said he felt his eyes being gouged. Carta then grabbed the ignition keys and drove off. Knight said it cost him £300 to replace all the lost keys.

The following day Knight received a message to meet Carta and went along thinking he was about to offer to pay for the damage he had caused. He locked the door, half opened his window and switched on a tape recorder and went to meet Carta.


Carta, who was waiting with other men, had an argument with Knight and punched him through the half-open window and tried to open the car door.The court heard that Carta, who had several previous convictions for violence and damage, had lost his temper.

Carta claimed that the taxi driver had pulled out in front of him but accepted that he lost his temper and gone too far. He denied trying to gouge Knight's eyes and said that he didn't take the ignition keys with him but threw them away at the scene.