A RACIST attack left a taxi driver so fearful that he is considering leaving the trade, a court heard.

Guy Bentley hurled stones and abuse at driver Jama Mohamed Hassan, repeatedly swearing at him and calling him an “illegal immigrant”.

Swindon magistrates heard that the 48-year-old began abusing the driver after querying his £3.80 taxi fare for the ride from Wroughton to Chiseldon.

Bentley, a father-of-two, picked up stones from his driveway and threw them at the cab, smashing two windows and hitting Mr Hassan on the head.

In a victim statement, Somali-born Mr Hassan said it was the first time he had encountered racism in almost 24 years of living in the UK.

“I have never suffered any form of abuse, racially motivated or otherwise since coming to the UK. I was furious about what was said,” Mr Hassan said in a statement read by prosecutor Pauline Lambert.

“I was scared that I might be hit by a bigger stone. I just wanted the whole ordeal to end. I will never forgive him for what he’s done and what he’s said. I feel now that I have to be careful about a customer I pick up.

"I have been thinking about giving up this job and doing something else. I don’t feel safe.”

Bentley pleaded guilty to racially-aggravated common assault and racially-aggravated criminal damage when he appeared in the dock yesterday.

Pauline Lambert, prosecuting, said Bentley had been drinking at a family wedding when he was picked up by the Cross Street Cars driver from the Pear Tree Hotel, Purton, on December 16. Bentley shared the cab with three other revellers, who were dropped off in Wroughton, where they paid their portion of the fare.

When the cab arrived in Chiseldon, Bentley questioned the £3.80 fare with Mr Hassan, who called the control room to confirm the price, with his phone was on loudspeaker so Bentley could hear the conversation.

“Mr Hassan says the man paid the fare then started to accuse him of ripping him off,” Ms Lambert said. “Mr Hassan said if he was trying to rip him off he wouldn’t have contacted his base.”

Bentley, of New Road, Chiseldon, shouted that the driver was an “illegal immigrant” and “trying to steal my money” while throwing stones at the car.

Defending, Emma Charleton said: “He’s a man of previous good character. He’s never come across the police for any criminal matter before. He’s 48 years old and he’s completely shocked and appalled by what he has done.”

Bentley, a carpenter, could not understand why he had made the racist remarks and sympathised with the driver, she said. Bentley completely understood why Mr Hassan would want to press charges, telling his solicitor: “If I was in his position I would want somebody to be prosecuted, because it’s not acceptable.”

The court heard he had not drunk since the incident.

The bench gave him a 12-month community order with 120 hours of unpaid work. They also ordered that he pay £860 compensation. Chairman Dr David Whetham said: “The offence is serious. However, we are clear you are under no doubt about the seriousness of what you did. We accept that the assault and the racist element of that assault was out of character.”