A drunken thug who launched a tirade of racist abuse at a taxi driver before dragging him from his car by his beard and attacking was too drunk to carry out his attempted robbery.

Robert Hood carried out the vile attack as he became increasingly abusive as the taxi driver took him home on Christmas Day after spending the day drinking.

The 38-year-old initially attempted to punch the man through the Covid screen in the taxi before dragging him out and punching him and kicking him while he was prone on the ground.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the victim was left traumatised and unable to sleep properly after he was violently attacked.

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Judge Jonathan Carroll locked up Hood for a total of six years after he was found guilty of attempted robbery and racially aggravated assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He said: “It is clear to me that you had ordered your taxi to get home without any means or intention to pay. You had been consuming alcohol and it may have clouded your judgement.

“As he drove into your street, your demeanour changed, you became aggressive – you attempted to hit him through the covid screen which was fitted at the time.

The Northern Echo: Robert HoodRobert Hood (Image: Cleveland Police)

“When you exited the taxi, whatever had started to build up a head of steam, managed to burst into outright violence.

“You dragged him out of his taxi by his beard. You hurled racist abuse at him due to his Asian origin and at that same time you were demanding he hand over money.

“While he was on the ground, you were kicking and punching him to his torso and face.”

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The court had heard how Hood had claimed that he was going to pay for the taxi but the judge did not accept that was his intention and told the defendant it was only his drunken state that prevented him carrying out the robbery.

He added: “I want to make it clear that whilst this was an attempted robbery, it was so close to a meaningful attempt, it was your own drunkenness which meant you weren’t able to take money from the driver.

Hood, of Esher Street, Middlesbrough, was found guilty of both charges following a trial at Teesside Crown Court following the attack on Christmas Day, 2020.

Brian Russell, mitigating, said: “Custody has come as a real shock to him. He hasn’t served a custodial sentence in the past and hasn’t been in trouble since 2017.”