Taxi passenger caught with knife in his hoodie jailed after claiming weapon was used for peeling man

A taxi passenger who fell asleep with a knife in his hoodie was jailed for six months by magistrates at Leeds Crown Court. 

A 13 inch long knife was found on 24 year old Luther Francis after being challenged by police, and bizarrely he claimed that he was carrying the knife to peel mangoes for his breakfast. 

Prosecutor Sharon Thompson told magistrates that Francis caught a taxi from his home in Cowper Street, Leeds, to Huddersfield at 7.30am on 31 March, and upon getting into the front passenger seat of the cab he fell asleep.

The cab driver, fearing that he was not going to get paid then pulled into a petrol station on Leeds Road, Mirfield and called the police.

Miss Thompson went on to tell the court that despite a police officer attempting to wake Francis the officer was unable to rouse him, possibly because the defendant may have been under the influence of drink or drugs. She went on to explain that when the officer opened the front passenger door and leaned into the vehicle he saw an unknown orange object inside Francis hooded top, which upon further investigation was discovered to be a large kitchen knife, 13 inches in length with a six-and-a-half inch blade.

Upon his arrest Miss Thompson then told the court that Francis claimed to police that he was going to a friend's house in Huddersfield and moving the knife between the addresses, he also claimed that he didn't intend to harm anyone or use it on the cabbie. 

Magistrates were informed of Francis previous convictions, which included 27 months in a young offenders institute for robbery in 2012, and an eight year sentence passed down in March 2014 for stabbing somebody with a screwdriver, damaging the victim’s liver.

In light of the latest offence, Francis was recalled to prison and is not due to be released until 2023. 

Catherine McCullough, mitigating, stated that Francis disputed being under the influence. He told magistrates that he was getting an early morning taxi and was tired and having to eat breakfast, which consisted of two mangoes, on the journey and therefore needed the knife to peel them. 

Ms McCullough went on to tell magistrates that Francis is a carer for his grandmother and that since being recalled back into custody she has had to go into a home. Despite magistrates jailing Francis for six months the sentence will not affect his expected release date, he will however have to pay £115 victim surcharge upon his release.

Court Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Court Image Author: MTaylor848
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