A thug who left a taxi driver fearing for his life as he forced him to drive while holding a seven-inch blade to his neck has been locked up.

Brooklyn Dougan climbed into the back of the victim’s car in Thornaby town centre before demanding he hand over cash and his mobile phone.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 21-year-old pulled on the car’s handbrake before jumping out of the car and running away with a shopping bag full of snacks.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said: “The complainant told him he wasn’t working. The defendant pulled out a knife and the taxi driver could feel it at the back of his neck.

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“Throughout the course of the journey, he held the knife to the driver’s neck and at one point put his arm around his neck and the drive saw that it was a seven-inch blade with a serrated edge.

“The defendant pulled the handbrake on the taxi, demanded cash and his mobile phone before jumping out of the car.”

The taxi driver told police he was ‘99 per cent sure he was going to die’ during the incident.

Dougan was identified by a Cleveland Police PCSO who watched CCTV from the Sainsbury’s store.

The court heard how the defendant also forced his way into five sheds before being chased off by the homeowner from his property on Lilac Avenue, Thornaby, in the early hours of February 16.

The Northern Echo: Brooklyn DouganBrooklyn Dougan (Image: Cleveland Police)

Dougan, of St Pauls Road, Thornaby, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and possession of a bladed article following the incident on March 13. He also pleaded guilty to the shed burglary.

Victoria Lamballe, mitigating, said her client has a longstanding crack cocaine addiction and ‘mercifully’ the taxi driver has not suffered any physical injury.

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Judge Andrew Hatton told Dougan it didn’t matter that his robbery attempt was unsuccessful as the taxi driver genuinely feared for his life.

He added: “You had a knife to the man’s throat, the fact you didn’t take any money from his pocket and simply left with a bag from the footwell makes no difference to the offence.

“Undoubtedly, the taxi driver feared for his life.”

Dougan was jailed for a total of six years after a suspended sentence for four shop thefts was activated.