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Man who ran off without paying £238 fare to Belfast cabbie avoids jail

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Dion Roscoe was given a four-month suspended sentence

Dion Roscoe was given a four-month suspended sentence

Dion Roscoe was given a four-month suspended sentence

A taxi passenger in Northern Ireland who fled without paying the £238 fare for a Belfast to Omagh round trip has avoided jail.

Dion Roscoe, 24, was given a four-month suspended sentence after a judge heard he fell asleep in the cab on Monday and then panicked.

Defence barrister Luke Curran said: "He didn't have £2, let alone £238."

Roscoe, of no fixed abode, admitted a charge of making off without payment.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he was arrested in the Newtownabbey area after police were alerted by the taxi driver.

Prosecutors said Roscoe and a friend both fled after being driven to Omagh and back again - a journey of up to 140 miles.

During interviews he confirmed being in the vehicle, but claimed the other man was supposed to settle the bill.

According to Mr Curran, Roscoe had accompanied his friend on the trip to meet someone in the Co Tyrone town.

"The defendant fell asleep in the taxi and the other person made off first," counsel said.

"He then panicked and made off (too).

"There was no additional sinister aspect, he recognises the taxi driver is out of pocket, along with the time and expense of the journey, and apologises."

The court was told Roscoe leads a "nomadic" lifestyle, struggling with an addiction to medication since the death of his father two years ago.

Imposing four months imprisonment, District Judge George Conner suspended the term for a year.

He also ordered Roscoe to pay £238 in compensation to the taxi driver within six months.

Belfast Telegraph