A TAXI driver from lawless Somalia told a court he had never been as frightened in his life as the moment he was attacked by a drunken thug.

Muktar Hassan said the terrifying late-night attack was worse than anything he had suffered in the war-torn African nation.

Jamie Roberts hurled racist abuse at Mr Hassan before punching him the face and putting his foot through his car window, a court heard.

Roberts, aged 25, of Newlands Avenue, Bolton, was yesterday given a suspended jail sentence and placed on an electronic tag, when he was sentenced for racially aggravated assault and criminal damage at Bury Magistrates Court.

Lisa Bakker, prosecuting, said Mr Hassan picked up three men from a pub in Breightmet at around midnight last May 24, and began driving them towards Harwood Vale.

The defendant, who was sitting in the back, started shouting racist abuse at Mr Hassan, who ignored him.

“Then the defendant suddenly put his hands over Mr Hassan’s eyes, forcing him to brake hard,” said Miss Bakker.

Roberts then punched Mr Hassan in the eye and then again in the mouth, before getting out of the taxi and turning around to kick the victim in the chest through the open door.

Roberts then kicked in the taxi’s passenger door window and the three men fled.

Miss Bakker said Mr Hassan called the police and watched Roberts go into a house in Kentmere Road.

When police arrived a woman came out of the house and told them a stranger had let himself in and was upstairs.

Roberts was arrested and later told police his drink had been spiked.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Mr Hassan said: “I would like to say that I have never been as scared as I was tonight.

“I come from Somalia and even when I was in my own country I was never as frightened as this male made me tonight.”

Roberts pleaded guilty to racially aggravated common assault and racially aggravated criminal damage. He was sentenced to 39 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, placed on a threemonth curfew, from 8pm to 6am, was ordered to take part in an alcohol programme and made to pay £602.50 in compensation.

Ann Deakin, defending, said Roberts was not a racist and was very sorry about what he had done.

She said Roberts, who has a previous history of violent offences, also had a problem with alcohol which he was trying to address.